1272: Christmas Eve – OneshotPosted: December 19, 2015
Hello, and welcome back to the Library of the Damned! I’m your host, SC, and apparently my brain wasn’t prepared for more Alex-being-a-dumbfuck, so let’s have another Christmas oneshot!
And I decided, let’s have it be Ladies’ Day! Because, shit, I’m pretty sure I’ve never just had Shades, Bifocals and Glasses in a riff together without someone else present as well, so I’m guessing some girl time might do them good fit the holidays.
Glasses: I mean, we still have girl time, but never in riffs, and that bums me out.
Shades: Yeah, I certainly don’t mind riffing with the boys – hell, the way I behave, I’m more a boy than a girl a lot of the time anyhow – but I’ve been itching for a sort of girl’s night out for a while now.
[By “girl’s night out,” she’s drawing attention to the fact that SC typically writes his riffs in the dead of night. -Book Specs]
I have no excuse for it, honestly. Just always slips my mind when I start writing, sorry.
Anyhow, so I finally found my first crossover to riff! This one is called Christmas Eve, by Vynx the Werewolf, and it’s just a bit over 3,200 words. It’s a crossover of two of my favorite games: Assassin’s Creed, which I’ve made my stance as a fanboy towards very clear previously, and Prototype.
We haven’t ever had a Prototype fic before, have we?
Take a guess what happens next.
If you guessed, “Dear God, SC’s gonna abuse us with a massive infodump again, prepare thine ass for a bullwhipping, because you’re correct!
Prototype, stylized as [PROTOTYPE], is an open sandbox action-adventure game developed by Radical Entertainment and Fun Labs, and published by Activision in June of 2009 for PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. It’s the first game in a duology of mainline games and a spin-off called Blacknet.
The story of Prototype is as follows:
Alexander J. Mercer –
– awakens by what, at first, seems like miraculous resurrection in a morgue seconds before being cut open by two attending coroners. As they flee the building in terror, Alex realizes that his memory is fractured and he doesn’t hardly remember anything about himself, other than that he was at a train station prior to the present moment. Making his way outside, Alex watches as the two coroners are confronted and murdered in cold blood by armed personnel from the black ops. organization Blackwatch –
– who then turn their weapons on him, codenaming him Zeus and evidently looking for his head on a platter. Much to his shock, Alex discovers that he didn’t come back to life due to miraculous resurrection, but rather a virus known as Blacklight, which he uses to survive being shot about a million times, and escape the Blackwatch forces who are after him. From there, Alex reunites with his sister Dana –
– and slowly begins to uncover the truth about his situation – that he was a brilliant scientist who previously worked for the group Gentek, was the head researcher of the Blacklight Project, and that he was responsible for infecting himself when he stole a vial of the virus, fled from Gentek’s facility and smashed it in Penn Station upon being cornered by Blackwatch forces, releasing Blacklight upon Manhattan Island and slowly rendering it a hellpit of zombie-like infected civilians and genetic monsters. He then pieces together that the reason he did this was because the Blacklight team was being systematically executed due to them having begun to grow suspicious of how deadly this virus that they were supposedly developing to combat previously incurable diseases was, and the people who ordered their deaths did so in a ditch effort to keep the truth of Blacklight a secret: that secret being, it was really an attempt to recreate Redlight, which was responsible for the full-scale purge of a town in Idaho by the name of Hope.
According to memories siphoned from Blackwatch soldiers who were involved, Redlight was a bioweapon that was being developed under the excuse of being a mutant strain to help create a self-sufficient town in the event of a nuclear war. It’s speculated that the actual intent was to inject Redlight into a suitable host and create an ultimate life form. A young woman by the name of Elizabeth Greene –
– proved to be the perfect host for the virus – maybe a bit too perfect. In fact, way too perfect, as she ended up becoming a bio monster who infected the entire town, forcing Blackwatch to shell the joint into the ground to keep it from spreading any further.
And speaking of Elizabeth Greene, Alex learns that she survived the Hope, Idaho purge, and was relocated a decade later to the Gentek facility in New York as a military asset. Alex has the unfortunate “privilege” of meeting her deep within Gentek’s facility, which results in him accidentally setting her free upon the island. This, naturally, compounds his issue, as he now must eliminate Elizabeth, stop Blacklight from destroying all of New York, and avoid getting eliminated by Blackwatch in the process, who begin to step up their game one hundred-fold after Elizabeth gets set loose.
In short, life for Alex Mercer is hell.
Now what does a game like Prototype have to do with the cloak-and-dagger shadow war through history that is Assassin’s Creed? Fucking nothing! In fact, the only reason they can be related to one another at all is because a lot of Prototype emphasizes stealth (ironic, given that the game is heavy on guns, explosions and large-scale battles), which is usually Assassin’s Creed’s calling card, and because Alex wears a hoodie that makes him look kind of assassin-like. But, somehow, people managed to find a link in the two canons that make them crossover-worthy, or maybe just wanted to cross them over and so said “fuck it” to logic; not only that, but they found a reason to make a crossover for a Christmas themed fic, of all things, how the fuck even…
Bifocals: You are seriously asking how a badfic author crossed two heavily violent canons for Christmas?
…Yeah, I really should know better. Let’s get to the fic already!
Oh, and someone wake up the cat.
*Shades lightly pokes Glasses in the ear, startling her awake*
Thank you. Now then:
10:39 am Christmas Eve
You know, honestly, I’m okay with date stamps in fics… but only so long as they have any reason to be there. This fic centers around the night before Christmas, I don’t think I really need to be told what time or day it is.
Shades: Unless this one plans on doing a “day after” sort of thing.
Or jumping straight to fucking New Years out of nowhere like last week’s oneshot.
“Oh lord just help us Alex, Altair, and Shaun. Look even Malik is helping!” Megan calls out from midway up the ladder.
I shouldn’t need to talk about Altair and Malik again, and just got done talking about Alex, but who the hell is Megan?
Glasses: Looking up “Megan Prototype” and “Megan Assassin’s Creed” resulted in nothing. Although, actress Megan Affonso is slated for a role in an upcoming 2016 Assassin’s Creed movie in the works.
I was wondering how long it would take for the series to get a movie…
As for Shaun, I can only assume the author means Shaun Hastings, an English computer geek working with the Assassins. I don’t want to jump into another infodump so soon after the first one, and I’m super wary of the last time multiple characters were listed rapid-fire in a fic I’ve riffed, which coincidentally enough was also about Assassin’s Creed, so I’ll just link his page on the Assassin’s Creed Wiki for you folks to read and pop a picture of him down here:
Shades: I guess we’re assuming Megan is a self-insert for now?
Or a Sue. Unless we decide to assume that the author means Megan Affonso, which I kind of doubt.
She was holding a silvery blue glass ornament in her right hand, body turned towards the three sitting on the couch with arms crossed over their chests.
Bifocals: Whenever I hear “body,” I tend to assume the intention is “abdomen.” So I feel like this Megan character is twisting her upper torso in circles much like my Gilderoy does when he decides to pretend that he is a helicopter.
…Gilderoy pretends to be a helicopter.
Your super badass bodyguard droid who looks intimidating as hell pretends to be a helicopter.
Bifocals: When I programmed his emotion simulation, he developed a kind of silly disposition. But yes, he pretends to be a helicopter. If he spins fast enough, sometimes he actually flies!
Shades: Oh, Gordon Bennett! So you mean that bloody UFO I was going to shoot down the other day that caused you to tackle me and nearly fire on a news helicopter by accident was your damn bot flying around?
Glasses: I recall that she also kicked you right up your lady zone, punched you in the solar plexus, strangled you and slammed your head in the ground several times while screaming something which, according to my German to English dictionary, translated roughly to, “You shoot my baby and I’ll send you to hell with your vagina wrapped around your ears and your nose up your ass!“.
Shades: Cor blimey, she did! I had to shoot her just to free myself from getting beaten to death!
Well, it’s not like you guys don’t know how defensive Bifocals is of her inventions.
Shades: I didn’t know it was one of her bloody inventions!
They give out a ‘hmph’, turning away from the larger group happily decorating the large blue spruce tree.
Hey, mind your tenses! You were past tense a second ago!
Bifocals: Why is the spruce tree blue, though?
Ezio was trying to remove the tinsel Leonardo had draped on his head, tangling it in his hair, but the merry band stop to watch the spectacle.
Glasses: Did we jump ahead in time to another scene and accidentally forget to finish the previous one in the process?
WE didn’t, the author did.
Bifocals: …But why is the tree blue?
It wasn’t every day that they saw three against one girl and lose horribly… Actually, that happened just about every day here now that they thought about it.
Shades: What the hell are you even on about, mate? I mean, putting aside that this has nothing to do with anything established in the fic so far, if you’re trying to imply that this Megan character can take on two assassins and a living bioweapon and win, despite that Alex, on his own, can pulverize a crowd with a single Devastator attack, and Shaun and Altaïr are both trained killers, though Shaun tries to avoid it if possible, then I would gladly tell you to go fuck yourself.
Glasses: Seriously, what she’s describing is more likely to happen with us than those guys. I mean, so long as Specs and Booky aren’t part of the group being fought, that is. If it’s just Contacts, Sportsy and Monocle, then it’s all good, but if Specs or Booky get involved, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t matter which of the three of us was fighting them.
Shades: Oh God, and if it were my two sons and Goldie, that would be even worse. Fighting myself two ways, alongside the combined strengths of Specs and Bifocals in one person? Forget it, mate, just dig me a grave now.
Bifocals could totally take all of them, though.
Shades: After what she did to me, I believe that.
*Bifocals grins victoriously*
Megan frowns, pulling her eyebrows into a taunt line over her blue-green eyes.
Glasses: Whoa! She frowned so hard that she made a unibrow!
Bifocals: That is going to look strange once she is done waxing it.
Desmond coughs into his hand,
Then keels over dead from extreme animus overexposure.
Shades: Poor sod, all he ever wanted was to be a barman.
…Well, that’s the last job he had before he got forced back into the Assassin versus Templar mess, in any event.
the other holding onto the ladder she happened to be standing on and Malik held the other side, covering his ruthless smile.
God, is this the same author who wrote that Fatal Frame II mess that I riffed? This thing jumps around about as much as that one did, with only slightly more legibility.
Megan plucks the Santa hat off her head with her left hand and drops it onto Malik’s head.
*Shades places a tiny Santa hat on Bifocals’ head*
*Bifocals squeals with glee*
Slowly she descends the ladder and crosses over to the couch. She stands in front of the three, hip cocked to the left and that same hand perched in the groove of her waist, quiet and studying them.
Thanks to Atop the Fourth Wall, I can’t ever see a girl swaying her hip without seeing the anatomical mess the female cast of X-Men volume one were – specifically, standing with their hips thrown out with such exaggeration that unless they happened to be standing on one foot, it’s pretty clear that they dislocated something.
Glasses: You know, I’ve tried doing sassy hip swaying. That shit hurts, man.
Were you trying to go by the X-Men thing I mentioned?
There’s your problem.
“Alex Mercer. Altair ibn-La’Ahad. Shaun Hastings.”
Why? It’s not like you bear any importance in their lives, why should they be worried about offending you?
“I told you to help. This tree, need I remind you three was entirely your idea,
Shades: Oh, come off it. I could maybe understand Alex, because he was probably a family man before becoming infected with Blacklight, but Altaïr’s entire life has been dedicated to stealth and killing, and Shaun honestly doesn’t seem the type to really give a damn about holiday festivities. You can’t honestly expect me to take it seriously that the tree was their collective idea.
is entirely too big to decorate with just us. You have to help as well.” Megan says, flicking her waist length chestnut brown ringlet curly hair back over her shoulder.
Bifocals: Yes, because of course I care what her hair looks like at this point. If it was such an important detail to you, author, why did you not describe it when you were first introducing Megan?
Because that would make sense, and how dare you.
Alex and Altair scoot down further into the couch, avoiding looking into the girl’s eyes, and Shaun drops his head and arms to let them hang at his sides.
Glasses: Oh come on, you are three grown-ass men! Stop acting like five year olds!
Looking at you especially, Altaïr. You go on to lead the entire Syrian branch of the Assassin Brotherhood, what’s this shit with you sinking into the couch because someone got mad at you?
He sighs and stands, holding his hand out to the 23 year old. She smiles brightly and hands him the ornament, he heads to the tree and finds a decent place to hang it. Turning around he looks at Megan. “Nope, you caved. You still have ta help.”
Oh my God, Raven is literally stalking my riffs now. And he can change genders!
Shaun sighs and drops to the rather large cardboard box of ornaments to continue hanging them. Megan turns back to the final two who refused to cave.
“We got the tree like you asked. Our part is done.” Alex remarks, hood pulled up. Megan rolls her eyes.
“And you never said anything about decorating it.” Altair mumbles under his breathe.
So if you were the one who made then get the tree, Megan, how exactly was it their idea?
Bifocals: I am more interested in how Altaïr is talking under his breathing… and you still have not answered why the tree is blue.
The ancestors’ were dressed in modern clothing which they had gotten used to over time. The only thing all 7 were still having problems with was that they weren’t being hunted therefore they didn’t need to hide.
Uh, Ezio and Leonardo shouldn’t have any trouble fitting back into that life at all, given that it was the life they used to live before all the Assassin and Templar shit came down on them.
Not that the woman they were staying with would have made that possible anyways.
Shades: Yeah. Right. Because she is absolutely a credible threat to them in regards to their respective abilities to blend in with their surroundings.
Especially Alex, who just has to kill people and is then able to transform seamlessly into them, right down to their voice.
“You two just don’t know the meaning of Christmas.” She sighs out after a few moments, turning back to the tree shaking her head. The two men look at one another confused.
Probably because Christmas wasn’t celebrated in Altaïr’s time, if at all, like it is today, and because Alex is busy trying to deal with the fact that he fucked over all of Manhattan Island.
“HEY! When did we get eggnog!?” Desmond yells out when he spies the punch bowl sitting on the little table against the living room wall.
Your dumb ass acquired the enhanced training of your Assassin ancestors through the animus’ Bleeding Effect, and you still couldn’t see the eggnog bowl until just now? Shit, Desmond, no wonder you died like a month after becoming a proper Assassin!
The other 6 decorating the tree throw tinsel at him laughing.
Bifocals: And also, why is the tree blue?
Bifocals: I feel like I am being ignored.
Megan sighs, looking at the now decorated tree. All it was missing was two things: one was the tree topper and the other was an ornament that had been in her family for as long as she could remember
I kind of feel like everybody has an ornament that’s been around in the family forever. I’ve got an ornament with a picture of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem on it that’s been around since I was born.
Bifocals: I have a Yule bell with holly leaves tied to the handle that my grandmother used to own.
Well, that’s certainly in the same vein as an ornament. I’ve seen little Yule bell ornaments here and there.
Shades: I think I’ve got a miniature wreath somewhere. Or a moldy old fruitcake. And if it’s the latter, I should probably set fire to the attic for everybody’s safety.
Glasses: I managed to keep my old Christmas collar around from back when I was a kitty. It has little jingle bells on it!
Okay, so maybe it’s not necessarily an ornament, but basically everybody has something like it.
and she knew what she was going to do.
Shades: Kick arse and chew bubblegum?
You’re thinking of Duke Nukem again.
She had ignored the two scrooges, refusing to acknowledge them for being Grinch’s,
Scrooge and Grinch were two totally different people, dumbass. Scrooge hated Christmas because he was more interested in money. Grinch hated Christmas because it existed.
and the rest and here had finished the tree rather quickly.
Come on, Booky, it’s the holidays!
[If that’s supposed to stop me from throwing bricks at shitheads, then you clearly have me mistaken for someone else. -Book Specs]
Though they had finished with one less person because for all Desmond’s boasting, he really couldn’t hold his liquor.
Glasses: Really? That little pussy got drunk on eggnog? And he’s a bartender!
Shades: What a tosser. I can put away a pint of Zombie without even getting tipsy, and this little baby can’t stand up straight after a few shots of bloody eggnog? Don’t ever let me catch you at any of the pubs I frequent, mate, the embarrassment will be too much for your little ego to handle.
I think you two are a bit biased here; you both have iron guts, of course you can hold your liquor. Also, holy shit Shades, a PINT of Zombie?! What, do you gargle absinthe when you brush your teeth in the morning?!
Shades: Actually, that’d be brandy, mate. I’m not looking to kill myself when I brush my teeth, you know.
Oh for fuck’s sake…
Bifocals: And here I thought I was tough because I enjoy Guinness…
Glasses: Hey, Guinness is classy when done right, you’ve at least got that much going for you.
Shades: No worries, mate, I’ll take you and the cat out on a proper pub run sometime before Christmas hits.
*Bifocals looks frightened at this*
I really should get Shades into rehab, but any damage the alcohol does to her body is undone every time she dies, so it’s really rather pointless.
…Although, Bifocals, nevermind that I didn’t think you to be a drinking type, I’m shocked that you didn’t say Jägermeister was your preferred drink. At least on the strong side, I mean.
Bifocals: I am German, of course I drink. We have Oktoberfest, for goodness’ sake. But, er… actually, I do not have much interest in Jägermeister.
Oh shit. Don’t ever show your face in Germany again, they’ll fucking crucify you for that.
Bifocals: Oh, I am not terribly concerned. They probably have me blacklisted from the country because of my preferences anyhow.
Then again, she had made it impressively strong for a reason.
Glasses: Pfft. Bet you a dime to a dollar that she doesn’t know you can make eggnog with rum and thinks that bourbon is the hot stuff.
Bifocals: That would not surprise me, given what we have seen so far.
Actually, I’m half inclined to think that the alcohol is the only thing the author knows what they’re talking about in this fic.
Desmond happened to be draped over the brit, singing ‘Santa’s Coming to Town’ awfully off key and waving his red solo cup half full of the creamy rum filled liquid.
Glasses: Okay, so she knows about rum in eggnog. Fair enough, I’ll let her have that one.
That also kind of vindicates Desmond not being able to handle it all that well, too.
Shades: Psh. Speak for yourself, mate, I still think he’s a little bitch.
Again: you don’t have intestines, you have an automated alcohol processing unit.
Shades: All this talk of booze is making me want to crack one open from Ghostie’s stash.
Just be sure to ask permission this time.
Ezio and Leonardo were laughing like there was no tomorrow, their own cups filled the same and were well on their way to a rather painful Christmas morning.
Ah, they’re Italian. Just give them a good, hardy meal, they should be able to walk it off just fine.
Shades: That’s less a stereotype than a historical truth. If there’s one thing that I could never fault Italian people for, it’s their food and the wonders it does for staving off hangovers.
Damn straight. Although I wouldn’t know about the hangover part, I’m the only one in this group that doesn’t drink.
Shades: The crazy, drunk bint side of me thinks you’re missing out, but the sane, sober side of me feels like you’re better off for it.
I’m inclined to agree with sober you.
Malik was trying, but quickly failing after Desmond hit a rather painfully high note for no reason, to hold his own laughter in.
Glasses: Really, I think Malik just delights in the suffering of his peers, what with all the shit he went through on account of them.
Well, it was mostly Altaïr’s fault, but I like to think that you’re right, there.
Somewhere in the back of Megan’s mind she realized that the two oldest were not drinking but enjoying the entertainment provide by those who were unabashedly making fools of themselves. Probably because unlike the rest, they had always had to watch over their shoulders for enemies and so couldn’t really relax.
Okay, so this author has been vague about all the characters but Megan, Alex, Altaïr and Malik, Shaun and Desmond, and Ezio and Leonardo in this fic so far. If we’re just focusing on them, the two oldest people in the room are Altaïr and Malik, which renders her statement about them enjoying the idiocy of their peers false because Altaïr is busy being a grump right now.
Megan claps her hands together loudly, drawing everyone’s attention to herself.
Bifocals: That is probably not good to do to the drunkies in the room.
Honestly, I think they barely noticed.
“Alright, now there’s just two ornaments left. The topper is one.” She pulls out the large star, all frosted glass and sparkles. “Who wants to put it up?”
Shades: I always had an angel as my topper, personally.
I used to have a rainbow star that burnt out. Then it was an angel… that burnt out. Now I’m back to a star again. Which is probably gonna burn out.
Glasses: Your luck with tree toppers is awful.
Don’t I know it.
Desmond throws his hand up, waving it around like a kindergartner eager to be picked. Megan grins and shakes her head no instead handing it to Malik. He puffs his chest out and walks over to the step ladder by the tree.
Okay, now just imagine Malik, missing arm and all, puffing out his chest and sauntering.
*Shades bursts into hysterical laughter; Glasses giggles giddily; Bifocals simply blinks in confusion*
Bifocals: …Why in the world does my brain translate sauntering as this?
*Shades laughs even harder*
Well, you’ve killed Shades. Well done.
Glasses: Wouldn’t be the first time.
*Bifocals shifts uncomfortably*
“But before we do that, there’s one more ornament I need to put on. This one is old and doesn’t go along with the theme I have for my tree but it’s the one I refuse to get rid of.”
Megan walks over to a small cardboard box that was sitting on an end table unopened. Carefully she opens it and pulls out a single ornament wrapped in about 50 layers of bubble wrap.
Oh, is THAT all.
She quickly removes it and they find that it was crystal, green and pale, with words carved oh so carefully into one side with Celtic knots acting as a boarder.
Shades: Huh. Wouldn’t have expected anything Celtic to show up in this.
Her house guests are, in no particular order, English, Syrian, Italian, and a New Yorker, she’s an undefined nationality, and she busts out a Celtic ornament. What the fuck is this melting pot of cultural insanity?
She gives it a soft, small smile before looking at everyone one by one. “This belonged to my great, great, great, great, great grandmother. She was born in Ireland back in the late 1700’s. Her family was very poor and when she was around 8, they all died. Her parents had 7 kids and only one survived. She was left all alone, shunned by her village because they thought she was evil and had casted a curse on her family to get rid of them.
Glasses: …Uh, nice… story?
Wow. That’s a hell of a way to open an explanation.
Around the time she was 17 or 18, she met my Grandfather. He was around 25 at the time, a rather prestigious jeweler, and the moment he had laid his eyes on my grandmother he was in love.
Shades: So your grandad’s a cradle robber?
Hey now, it’s only a difference of five or six years, let’s be reasonable here.
He didn’t care that she was dirt poor, shunned, or calloused to him when he first tried to speak to her. He kept at it, eventually proving to her his feelings when her village wanted to burn her home and take what little land she had left.
Bifocals: Such a romantic tale.
I especially like the part where grandma’s life is complete shit.
“They married not long after on Christmas and he took her away from them, moving to America. His wedding gift was this.” She holds up the ornament, it was nearly as long as her forearm and 1 ½ times wider than her forearms put together.
How fucking huge is that ornament? You know that the length of both your arms totals to four feet, don’t you? And wider than both your forearms put together… I’m guessing this author must be younger than me by a few years, because when I put my forearms together, it’s easily half a foot across.
Shades: So the ornament that’s been passed down through her family for generations is a gourd?
Glasses: Well, it’s certainly one of the more interesting things I’ve seen hanging on a Christmas tree.
Bifocals: Speaking of which, are we ever going to learn why the tree is blue?
“It has a blessing on it, for both friends and family alike. And really, the only difference between the two is blood.” Altair and Alex walk over to her to take a closer look at the ornament.
“What does it say?” Altair says after attempting to read the strange words. Megan smiles.
“It’s in Gaelic. It says’ God grant you lightness in your step, a smile on every face you meet, loved ones gathered at your hearth, and at your door, good friends to greet. A holy hymn upon your lips, a window candle burning bright, and may the Good lord bless your heart and come to dwell there Christmas night.'” She says walking over to the step ladder Malik stood by.
Shit, no wonder the damn thing is so huge if she’s got all that on it.
Glasses: Anybody wanna take a swing at translating that into Gaelic?
Shades: English though I may be, Gaelic is no strength of mine.
Well, I’ll just have to chance it with Google Translate, because I don’t speak it either.
Okay, so Gaelic is not a language option on Google Translate. Luckily, the author was kind enough to clarify that it was Irish, which IS its own language on Google Translate, and I feel pretty safe in assuming the two are about the same, so I went with that. What I ended up getting was this:
“Deontas Dia Gile tú i do chéim, aoibh gháire ar gach aghaidh a tú ag freastal, ngaolta a bailíodh ar do teallaigh, agus ag an doras, cairde maithe chun beannú. A iomann naofa ar do liopaí, coinneal fuinneog dhó geal, agus is féidir leis an tiarna Dea bless do chroí agus teacht ar lár ann oíche Nollag.”
Now, as this is Google Translate, we can all pretty well guess that this is a very rough translation, so if anybody in the comments is particularly knowledgeable with Irish Gaelic, feel free to edit this as necessary.
She makes it up four steps when Alex speaks.
“What’s it supposed to mean?” She continues on her way, getting to the top of it and placing it below where the topper was going to sit. It nearly blended into the tree if not for its reflective qualities.
Bifocals: I am still waiting on an answer for why the tree is blue.
“It means for you to be merry and carefree.” She begins her descent down and steps away to allow Malik to place the topper in its place at the very top of the tree. “This is a rather holy season in more ways than one. While I myself am not a Christian, having not been graced with the ability to trust in some higher being pulling me where I need to go, I do realize that even the pagans regarded this season as a pressing one. The earth is dead and barren, no longer able to support growth and giving the world a grim visage.”
Shades: We’re not touching that one, I take it?
No, we most certainly are not.
She holds onto the step ladder as Malik places it and starts to come down. She smiles brightly, walking over to where the electrical cord laid unplugged. She goes to reach for it when a black and red mass snakes past her outstretched fingers and plugging the cord in.
Oh, thanks Alex. You could’ve just walked over there and offered, but I guess transforming works too.
Shades: Hey. When you’ve got a power…
You may as well use it. Fair enough.
Glasses: …Am I the only one who’s curious why it’s the night before and they’re only just now putting up the Christmas tree?
You know, I didn’t even think about it until now. December 1st rolled around and my folks and I had that tree up within the hour.
Shades: We put ours up in six.
That’ll be the Specs and Co. Christmas special: We Can’t Put Up A Tree For Shit.
The tree lights up, merry colors twinkling happily at the group of friends… No, not friends, family.
I’d totally make a product plug if I could remember which product it was with that tagline, “When you’re here, you’re family.”
Megan back tracks to the couch, curling into the corner and watching the group of men interact. As a writer she could come up with nearly a million scenarios that would result in what was happening; Desmond and Ezio making merry fools of themselves and being egged on by Shaun into who could empty their cup of eggnog quicker, Malik and Leonardo cheering them on with Altair standing back and shaking his head.
Are you trying to get all meta on me, Vynx?
Bifocals: We see what you are doing, there.
The only person who she couldn’t include in such a story was Alex.
Shades: Like that’s done anything to stop you.
Well, he really wasn’t Alex but then again he really wasn’t Zeus.
…Uh. Yes he is. In fact, he’s both those things. At the same time, even.
He was just lost, trying desperately to find something that made him somewhat human.
Shades: OH COME OFF IT!
But she found herself to think of him as anything but human, just like the rest of them. Humanity was just a broad term used in her opinion.
Holy shit, are we seriously getting into the author’s philosophy of characters in popular media right now? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good discussion of this nature, but not when I’m reading a Christmas-themed oneshot!
He was living, breathing, could talk and feel, eat… somewhat. She still had yet to find anything to make him want to eat normal food but at least the local wildlife wasn’t in serious danger from him. She tried to remember how many deer he needed to ‘consume’ for him to function, was it two or three?
Glasses: Does that mean he can turn into Bambi, now?
I’m not sure it works like that.
She shakes her head, not bothered in the least. She decided he was human, even if he didn’t think he was.
But you just got done saying that he was more than human a second ago!
Whoops! How’d that get in there?
Shades: Come on, mate, can you figure out where the bloody keys on your keyboard are?
Bifocals: This is very unprofessional.
Booky, what the fuck, you’re supposed to edit shit like that out!
[And forego an opportunity to make you look like an asshole? I most certainly think not! -Book Specs]
Alex looks over at the girl who opened her home to them nearly a year ago. She hadn’t asked questions, other than questioning her sanity, hadn’t expected anything of them other than they not kill people.
Gee, now if only I could get you fucks to follow those directions!
Shades: Wha-? Mate. Have I shot anyone that didn’t deserve it since I started living at your place?
Bifocals: I do not cause problems on purpose! You know that!
Glasses: Why are you lumping me in with the other jerks? I behave myself perfectly well!
Oh, do you, now. Recall, if you will, that the mail service no longer comes to my address and the police have me on watch because you put your axe through the mail truck’s engine block after your cat side got the better of you and had you chasing after the poor man like a psychopath.
And Shades, you haven’t shot anybody who didn’t deserve it yet, but you sure do like making a habit of taking potshots AT people who were just walking by.
Shades: Those kids might have been drug dealers!
They were donating clothing to charity on behalf of the Salvation Army!
Shades: But they might have been drug dealers.
Fuck’s sake… and Bifocals, your intentions frequently get loose and wreak havoc on my neighbors!
Bifocals: I have no control over that!
YOU’RE THE ONE WHO FUCKING BUILT THEM!
Glasses: Bifocals, do you ever consider making remotes for your inventions?
Why am I not surprised.
It was a small town and missing people who just up and disappeared were noticed.
*The girls all shift uncomfortably*
…So, am I the only one who remembers when you three tried to kidnap the chef from that one restaurant because you overheard him making a mean comment about Glasses’ cooking from the kitchen?
Glasses: All I said was that I was interested in the recipe, and he comes back and says that I probably cook like a half-blind badger! I felt justified in my actions!
So did the police.
So Alex had consumed the deer and mountain lions, any of the larger massed creatures that roamed the woods around her home.
By the way, if you guys ever come into a large quantity of venison from a hunting trip or whatever, definitely make it into burgers and skewers and stews and whatnot. Stroganoff is highly recommended.
Shades: But can you make it into a Shepherd’s Pie?
She was small and frail to him, so much so than his sister and any other female he had met. Ivory skin with splashes of freckles, dark hair, bright eyes.
Glasses: She smol?
She was smart though, could trade barbs with Malik as easily as breathing air.
Shades: So could I, that doesn’t prove anything. Just means I’m as big a bitch as he is.
She was also understanding, realizing that she wasn’t going to find out anything by forcing them to speak but that with time they would.
Glasses: THEY ALWAYS DO.
*Glasses strokes her axe unnervingly – until she accidentally cuts herself*
Glasses: Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!
*Glasses drops her axe, the extreme weight of which causes it to smash through the floor and into the ninja lobby, right into their communal kotatsu; startled Japanese is heard*
Glasses: Ack! Sorry, ninjas!
Glasses: Hey, that didn’t sound very polite.
Her living was fueled by words and emotions she could put down with pen and paper. They had all been amazed when they had found one of her old manuscripts, the words had a flow like water and could easily slither into your mind and hide there, coming back when you least expected it.
Subtly stroking your ego is still stroking your ego, author.
She had gotten upset with them, only because they had been going through things they didn’t need to be. As giving as she was, she was still reserved and withheld things about themselves.
Yes yes, the author insert is a very kind person, got it. No need to keep hammering that in.
Like why they had been putting up a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
Yeah, what is up with that? Seriously, usually the tree goes up first.
48 hours prior
Desmond looks up from the desktop he was playing solitaire on with a frown. “Hey Meg, is the date off on this thing?”
Oh, we’re gonna bold-text this whole bit here? Oh, okay, that’s cool, my eyes don’t mind being stained like that.
Megan looks up from her book, pulling her glasses off with a thoughtful ease.
“No, I don’t think so. Why?” She questions, one side of her glasses folding up and her chewing on the other end.
Glasses: DON’T DO THAT!
“You know it’s like 3 days till Christmas right?” The thoughtful look disappears and is replaced by a blank face.
“Oh, is it really?” But she wasn’t really asking more like feinting around the statement. Desmond nods, the conversation bringing in the rest of the people who resided in the house. Malik, Ezio, and Leonardo put their cards face down as the game becomes forgotten. Altair enters the living room from the kitchen, a sandwich in hand. Alex looks up from the paper he happened to be reading on the floor in front of the couch, leaning against it. Shaun steps off the ladder after grabbing a book from the top shelf of her small library in the living room.
Alright, yeah, we get it, the gang’s here, can we move on please?
Everyone looks at her and Desmond, Altair and Malik confused.
Bifocals: And here I thought my native language was difficult sometimes.
“Her writing flows like water,” except for when that flow crashes into literary water mines and explodes.
“What is Christmas?” Malik questions, curiosity gnawing at his insides as he looks at her. She didn’t want anything to do with this, whatever it was. Altair nods once, also curious.
Author, Christmas was a recognized holiday in the Christian faith as far back as the 4th century. That century lasted from year 301 to year 400. Malik and Altaïr were adults in their twenties or thirties during the Third Crusade. They might not follow the faith, but they probably know what Christmas is. Just not how people in the modern day recognize it.
“It is a holiday, to celebrate friends and family, give gifts and to be merry. To be surrounded by those you love and hold dear.” She responds almost mechanically, like she wanted to avoid the whole thing. She shifts slightly in her seat, now uncomfortable with all of this.
Shades: You know, to be quite honest with you, I’d also probably be pretty uncomfortable explaining a concept to two professional assassins that should already be common knowledge to them.
“Well, why don’t you have a tree or anything?” Shaun questions. He wasn’t particular about holidays but he knew that Americans took every chance to have a celebration.
Shades: What, and us Brits don’t? Fuck you implying, mate?
Megan stiffens for a split second in marking her place in her book and then sets it down on the coffee table, folding up her glasses and setting them on the book. She takes the fleece blanket off of her lower half, showing her red and black plaid pajama bottoms and fuzzy red socks. Her black long sleeve shirt gets pulled past her hands, a sign of her discomfort.
Why the hell do we care what she’s wearing at this point? That shit could have been dealt with way earlier, and with far less words!
“My… my parents, sister and brothers, nieces and nephews; they were all flying up here ’bout two years ago for Christmas. The plane just… stopped working.”
Glasses: What is it with authors and dead or otherwise unpleasant families being their go-to for tragic backstories?
Shades: Yeah, I mean, according to our backstories, most of our parents are dead or otherwise not present, but that’s not the tragic part. The tragic part is that we all died at the height of our successes. Well, except for Sportsy and Monocle, they both got fucked over before they had a chance to succeed at anything.
It’s probably because family ties are the easiest way to take a shot at the heartstrings. Not so effective when I’ve seen it a million times, though.
She down casts her eyes; hair pulled up and held in place by a pencil, the few strands that were not held back hung at a slight angle. She stands up slowly from the couch; her slender 5 foot 5 inch frame having the clothes hang off of her shoulders and her hips where her pants were tied,
*Shades pulls out a megaphone*
Shades: I DON’T CARE WHAT SHE LOOKS LIKE. NOW IS CERTAINLY NOT THE TIME TO BE DESCRIBING IT, EITHER.
Glasses: Ooh! Can I try?
Shades: Uh… well, okay, I guess. You’re asking as an adult this time, so maybe you’ll be more responsible about it than you were when you asked me as a toddler last ti-
*Glasses grabs the megaphone*
Glasses: *PSYCHOTIC METAL SCREAM*
*Shades, Bifocals and SC all collapse to the floor, twitching*
M-more res-s-sponsib-ble, huh?
Bifocals: M-make the ringing s-stop…
everyone waiting for what she was going to say next. But she just walks out of the room and leaves them in silence for a few breathes.
“So, she’s an orphan then?” Desmond questions, but didn’t really expect an answer. They all knew what she had left off in the silence. They died, no survivors, she was alone in this world.
I’m pretty sure we didn’t need it explained. I know what, “the plane stopped flying” means, trust me.
In a way, it explained why she distanced herself from humanity and lived so far away from population. She was afraid to make a connection with another person, maybe because she didn’t want to feel that terrible wound open once more.
Yeah, that is generally why people who isolate themselves tend to do it. Good that you noticed. Can we move on, now? This story seems like it’s moving incredibly slowly for only being three thousand, two hundred-something words.
Suddenly Desmond looks up with a grin on his face, and somehow, they all knew this was going to be interesting.
Bifocals: The bartender is thinking things.
Shades: Everybody duck.
Alex sits on the couch with Megan, leaning back into the plush cushions and his arms hung on the back of the couch. He was a hairs breathe away from her, but she remained quiet.
That’s “hair’s breadth,” author. And as a side note, “breathe” is what you are doing to stay alive, “breath” is what comes FROM breathing. Just so you know for the future.
She was comfortable with his presence. She shifts, twisting her body to lay against Alex, her head on his shoulder.
Shades: Congratulations, you’ve just infected yourself with Blacklight.
Have fun being a bio monster!
He waits a moment before moving his arm to hold her against him. She didn’t fight but snuggled up closer, reveling in the warmth he provided. The other men had made a joke that he was her personal space heater. He was starting to believe it and, what’s more, was starting to not mind so. At least he was providing something other than destruction.
So this is totally an Alex/OC shipfic, right?
“Hey, look, it’s snowing!” Desmond calls out, sobering up instantly.
Bifocals: That is not how it works.
Shades: As a chronic drunkard, I can confirm that that is, indeed, not how it works.
Megan twists around on the couch; Alex’s arm still wrapped around her, and looks out the wall of windows. Her eyes light up and she jumps over the back of the couch, grabbing her fuzzy boots, scarf, mittens, and coat; quickly putting them on before throwing the sliding door open and running outside, coat flying open with the speed she was using.
Glasses: *Alex* “But I thought we were gonna Netflix and chill!”
She looks up and laughs as the snow lands on her face, especially her nose and eyelashes. Desmond and Shaun grab their coats and gloves, putting them on before following her outside. The sun was fighting to shine through the dark snow heavy clouds, and they were going to enjoy themselves. Ezio and Leonardo shrug and don their coats and gloves, Leonardo putting on his red hat, and following the group outside. Alex, Altair, and Malik just watch from the porch, later two putting on their outerwear after a few minutes outside.
Does daybooking count for characters just doing things according to an author’s checklist? Do we even have a term for that?
Megan spies a snow drift that had built up enough to make a snowball… and she knew just who she was going to peg with it. She removes her gloves and quickly forms a ball, the heat from her hands slightly melting the snow and making it heavier. Made it more compact and hold better together.
Now we get to see the complex mechanisms of the deadly snowball.
Shades: Ooh. Snow. Chilly.
Why, you sound positively unenthusiastic, Shades!
Shades: Gee, I wonder why.
Desmond sees what she was doing, giving her a quick confused look whilst ducking under Shaun’s attempt to put a small amount of snow down his back. She nods her head towards Altair and Desmond grins. He was okay with taking any fire from his ancestor, ‘specially if it allowed the youngest member of the household to have fun.
Bifocals: Watch the snowball miss because Altaïr had his Eagle Vision active and saw it coming.
I know, right?
“Hey Altair!” The Syrian assassin looks over to his descendant, about to answer when a rather well thrown ball of slush makes contact with the side of his head.
Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad: professional assassin. Master of the Syrian branch. Had to climb the ranks twice and became ten times as deadly for it. Brought innovation and flexibility to the Assassin Brotherhood to help them keep pace with a rapidly evolving world. Can’t dodge a fucking snowball to the face.
Glasses: What a champ.
Everyone froze to watch it hang for a second and then fall off the side of his head and onto the porch with a ‘PLOP’.
Megan couldn’t withhold it anymore, she begins to snicker. Her snickering soon turned into full blown laughter which was soon followed by Desmond, Shaun, Ezio, and Leonardo; each falling over into the accumulating snow in an attempt to breath as they couldn’t believe what they had seen. Even Malik was laughing along with them after a minute or two.
Shades: And then Altaïr stabbed all of them.
Altair looks over at the girl who was soon making another snowball and eyeing Ezio.
RUN FOR ALL YOUR AUDITORE ASS IS WORTH EZIO!
She lets it loose with a precision they hadn’t seen much with her; she was, to say safely, a klutz. The snowball sails through the air to smack right into Ezio’s face, knocking him backwards in his crouched position.
God damn it, Ezio, you had one job!
They all quieted for a moment, soaking in the fact that a slip of a girl had managed to get two Master Assassins
Shades: Who should have been able to handle the situation better.
and then the small glen was full of loud laughter and shouting. Snowballs were flying across the ground making anyone who was on the frozen earth fair game.
*Shades dives over the back of her seat and summons an assault rifle, firing blindly over her head in the general direction of the riff*
And you’ve shot out my screen. Thanks, asshole.
*Glasses falls over dead*
And you’ve shot Glasses, too. You’re cleaning this shit up, Shades.
Alex watched all of this with a small chuckle and jumped and backwards summersaulted onto the roof to escape the flying frozen water.
Don’t be a bitch, Mercer! Everybody else is getting hit with snowballs, you get your ass back in there!
Altair and Malik had somehow joined in, the fray uneven. Desmond, Leonardo, Ezio, and Megan were on one side, running and dodging the snowballs whilst slipping and sliding on frozen patches, scooping up piles of snow to make their ammo. Altair, Malik, and Shaun were on the other, Malik and Altair throwing the snowballs and Shaun hiding and creating their ammo. This game went on for nearly an hour before they all collapsed onto the now 2 foot deep snow covered ground, their breaths coming out in long steamy trails as they laughed and talked.
Bifocals: You would almost forget these guys are professional killers at this rate.
Megan jumps up, making another snowball and rolling it around on the ground causing it to grow bigger and bigger. Once the base had started and Shaun and Desmond realized what she was doing, they had already made the middle and head respectively, stacking the packed snow on top of one another. Leonardo grins and runs inside, sliding his shoes off at the door and runs into the kitchen then to the fire place, coming back out with small bits of charcoal and a carrot.
I get that it’s just a snowman, but come on! You have an opportunity to show off what Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest artists of his age, might do with a snowman, and the only thing his crazy brain can think of is the typical carrot and charcoal? Missed opportunity, author.
Ezio takes the items from him and runs over to the snowman, all of them placing them where ever. When they stood back to admire their handiwork and just laughed themselves silly.
“It looks like a Picasso snowman!” Says Megan when she had enough breathe between laughing.
This of coursed caused them to laugh even harder. Once they could breathe somewhat, they realized just how late it had gotten and also how cold they were.
Yeah, snow’s cold, guys.
Alex hops down from the roof, careful not to cause the wooden porch to splinter and dent,
Shades: Which is not an easy thing for him to accomplish, given that he makes craters in the ground just from running.
opening the sliding door to them as they shuffled in; pulling off scarves, jackets, gloves, and boots. They boys, excluding Alex, head to their rooms to change into drier and warmer clothes. Megan heads to the fireplace and begins to light it. Alex helped her, handing her balled up sheets of old newspaper and then logs.
Glasses: No, dummy, you start with kindling, and then work your way up to logs once you have the fire going!
Glasses pays attention when I build fires, I see.
Glasses: They’re so pretty~
I feel like I should be worried by that statement.
By this time the rest of their rather strange gang had returned and were strewn around the fireplace, reveling in the warmth it was willing to give.
*Fire* “I GUESS I can warm the place up. I mean, it’s not like I really wanna, but whatever.”
Megan was wrapped up in her fleece blanket that had been pulled off the back of the couch watching the flames dance as she sat against the couch.
You’re gonna get coal in your stocking if you don’t knock that brick throwing off, Booky!
[Fight me, fam. -Book Specs]
The hardwood floor wasn’t all that warm but slowly was becoming so. She lets a small smile slip onto her face, nostalgia shining in her eyes. “This, this feels right.” She whispers to herself, the words barely making a noise as they slipped past her lips. Alex slides off the couch and onto the floor beside her, having her heard her, and once more wraps one arm around her shoulders conscious of the amount of pressure he was using as always around her.
Shades: I’d have laughed if she used that as an excuse to have Alex transform his arm into that whip thing and just tie everybody up.
That would have been hilarious, but no, she didn’t do that.
“Hey, remember when he broke your arm?” Ezio questions, flipping over onto his back and looking at the two. Megan grins, untangles one arm to grab a pillow, and throws it at his face.
Sorry for the OOC-ness everyone. The holiday bug bit me good.
Bifocals: And yet you still had it in your to write a tragic backstory?
Well, to be fair, how many Christmas stories are feelsy as hell?
I don’t have prototype but just by looking at Alex I can see what type of man he is… and what I would want him to be. XD
Shades: I’d disagree with you on that one.
Yup, me no own anyone ‘cept Megan.
Glasses: Do… do authors think it’s cute to pretend like they’ve never seen an English class a day in their lives before?
Honestly, I don’t even know. There’s definitely a line to be drawn between being endearing and just being dumb, I’ll say that much.
I might continue this but it really all just depends. Writers block sucks so much… And yes, I am going to be putting out my other stories sometime soon.. hopefully. Lol, please r&r.
Shades: Ooh, she got fancy and used the “&” symbol!
Doesn’t mean I’m gonna go any easier on her in my review, though.
Shades: Well, no, I’d be concerned if you did.
Why, thank you!
And on that note, we’re done! Thanks for reading, folks, and stay tuned for next time! Okay, for real now, we have to get back to stupid Alex Killian, so that’s happening next weekend. Sorry, but there’s only so much Christmas cheer you can expect to have at the Library. In the meantime, I’m SC, and on behalf of Shades, Glasses and Bifocals, I’ll see you next time!
Bifocals: …Is anybody ever going to tell me why the tree was blue?
Okay, serious time, now. I’m feeling pretty charitable because it’s the Christmas season at the time of this riff’s submission, so I want to put a note here for Vynx, if they ever happen to find this riff:
I know that what I wrote here seems pretty harsh, and I know that it probably looks like I just hate your work for no good reason, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t. I don’t have a beef with any author that I riff, at least not at first; sure, I get annoyed, or have my violent moments, or throw insults, but I do genuinely appreciate that the authors I riff put out the effort to tell a story, and all the mean things I have to say are really my passion for writing coming out rather than any legitimate anger or anything like that. Really, the only authors I truly get pissed at are the ones who plagiarize, or blatantly half-ass their work, or just write a fic for the purpose of fulfilling some fantasy of theirs with no effort made on behalf of trying to put out good quality.
You didn’t do any of that, so all my guff and grumbling is really just me playing up what I really think of this fic: It’s okay. Could be better, but it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen. It definitely reads like you were rushing to meet a deadline, what with the occasional incomprehensible sentence here and there that I imagine you didn’t mean to write, but didn’t catch during the editing process. I also wish you’d stuck more to the canon personalities of each character, or maybe done something to explain how they all came to be gathered in the setting they were; and I feel like you could have made more time in your writing to try and describe Megan more completely, rather than the bits of clothing porn that got shoehorned in where they didn’t have any place being. Or, you know, some characters are so good just by their personalities that they don’t really need to be described. Although, that takes a lot of skill to pull off, and quite honestly, I don’t fault you for not going that route.
In the end, though, you did good, and if you happen to find this riff, don’t take it personally. Believe it or not, but a good number of the fics riffed here are done so in jest. Think of this as my way of saying that I’m interested to see how you improve in the writing world.