Well, this is it. The last chapter of Twenty-Five Days, which I am currently typing on only about two hours of sleep. Allergies are not your friend. The good news is I'm pretty sure it's scientifically proven that you don't need sleep on Christmas, so it's all good. I hope this will be a pleasant addition to your holiday, and if it isn't...well, I apologize. I've tried my best, though, and hopefully it came out okay in the end. Consider this the finale of my little gift to the entire fandom.
Day Twenty-Five: The Best Christmas Ever?
The campers all gave a simultaneous hoot of utter glee as the numbers on the digital clock switched from 12:59 to 1:00 AM. While they had
planned on running out to the presents the very moment it was Christmas, the agents whom had been stuck watching them had forbidden them from waking them at midnight. Thus, the most obvious thing to do had been to wait a whole extra hour. That extra hour had been torture, but at last, the wait was over.
Of course, none of them had slept a wink, but everyone knows you don't need sleep
The kids let forth a battlecry as they all burst from their rooms and rushed down the hallway, waking most of the agents in the building and passing some of the ones who were completely smashed and just getting to bed. They all stumbled into the common room, jaws dropping at the sight before them.
Presents! Presents everywhere, as far as the eye could see! Great boxes tied with ribbons, small packages with bows, piles and piles here and there, gathered under the tree, a cornucopia of shimmering, Christmassy glory.
“...Wow.” Chops managed to get out.
“YEAH! PRESENTS!” Benny cheered, rushing towards the gifts.
That was all it took. With a roar the kids all charged, sorting through package after package in an attempt to find what was theirs as the regular agents stared at them blearily from the hallway.
“Oh, wow!” Phoebe exclaimed. “New drums!”
“I can dig this...” Quentin drawled as he ran his fingers over his new green and red scarf.
“Oh my God! A cheering outfit!” Crystal screamed, hugging her present to her. “Yay, Christmas!”
“Yeah, yeah! Yay, Christmas!” Clem agreed as he held up his own cheering outfit.
Franke just let out a squeal as she hugged her new designer boots, Kitty grinning beside her with her own, only slightly snazzier pair.
“Hmmm...a pin stripe suit? Very nice.” Maloof commented as he held up the suit.
“Mikhail thought so. Got in Russia.” Mikhail explained as he squeezed his bear shaped stress ball.
Elton and Milka were too busy with the effects of some mistletoe to really go too crazy over their gifts. Elka watched them with a sigh for a moment, then turned to Nils. “Oh Nils, why don't we find some mistletoe too?”
Nils just groaned, hiding his face in the new hoodie he had gotten.
“Oooh, new hockey gear!” Chops said.
“Hmm...I gotta admit, this new hat is mighty stylish...” JT commented as he pushed up the rim of his new cowboy hat.
“Oh wow...” Vernon mumbled in monotone. “A journal to write my experiences in. How exciting. It reminds me of that one Christmas when...”
“What the...I got coal!?” Benny sputtered, eyes widening as he stared at the dismal lump in his hand.
“I...didn't?” Bobby mumbled, blinking in confusion at his new Metallica CD.
Chloe just smiled from where she was paging through her new book, “Light Speed Space Travel for Dummies”.
Indeed, almost all of the campers seemed happy on this wondrous morning. However, there was one whom wasn't so happy, and that was of course our own Lili Zanotto. The brunette sat curled up in an arm chair in the corner, playing absently with the new clothes she had gotten, a far-away look in her amber eyes.
“Lili? Don't you like your present from Santa?” Dogen asked as he waddled over. He was wearing a new, fuzzy hat over his usual tinfoil one and seemed quite taken with it.
“Huh?” Lili glanced up, then forced a small smile. For most she wouldn't even do that, but she liked Dogen, at least. “Oh, yeah...it's great...”
Dogen watched her a moment. “Sad that Raz isn't here?”
Lili snorted. “Me? Sad? No, of course not, why should I be?” She muttered, eyes narrowing. “It's not like it's any different from all my other Christmases...”
“Oh...” Dogen glanced down at his feet and scratched his head. “Well, don't worry, we still have twenty-three hours...maybe he'll get here still.”
The brunette let out a long sigh. “Dogen, they said on the news there's a blizzard going on up there. They aren't letting any planes take off.”
Dogen's face fell. “Oh...”
They sat in silence for a moment. Then Lili sighed, sitting up. “Don't worry about it, okay Dogen? You just go enjoy your holiday.” She said, forcing another smile.
The small boy watched her in silence for a moment. Then he sighed, his shoulders slumped, and he turned to walk away. “'Kay, Lili...but if you need anything, just ask.”
“I will.” Lili called after him. Once she was sure Dogen was occupied again she slumped into her seat with a dejected sigh. “Stupid Christmas...God, I hate this holiday.” She muttered, pulling her knees up to her chest and burying her face in them.
“Geez, you really shouldn't worry so much. There are ways to travel besides planes you know, contrary to popular belief.” A voice suddenly spoke from behind her.
Lili's eyes widened as she sat straight up. “What...” She turned, only to find herself staring into a pair of jade green eyes. “...Raz?” She gasped.
Raz's smile cracked into a grin the moment she turned, his nose, cheeks, and ears still tinted pink from the cold outside, snow melting where it had landed in his hair, his red goggles hanging around his neck. A simple, festive red Santa hat had been placed upon his head. “Merry Christmas, Lili.”
“Oh my God...Raz!” Lili screamed, leaping over the back of the chair she had been sitting in and throwing her arms around him. “You came...you came!” She cried, her voice muffled by the material that made up his jacket.
“ACK!” Raz yelped as he stumbled backwards, only just barely able to keep himself upright. He then let out a laugh, hugging Lili back. “Of course I did. What did you expect?”
“You came...” The brunette repeated, hugging him even tighter. “Oh God...I didn't think you would...the snow..and...and...you came...”
“Well, someone certainly seems happy, right darling?” Milla spoke up from the doorway, her arm entwined in Sasha's.
“Yes...though somehow I feel as if I should be much more surprised that the children were all up at this hour...” Sasha muttered.
Truman just chuckled, shaking his head.
Lili glanced up to see the three standing there, her eyes widening. “Milla, Sasha...dad? You all...you all came?”
“Why, of course we did, sweetie!” Milla giggled. “Did you really think we would miss Christmas here with all of you?”
“Well...but...how?” Lili wondered, pulling away from Raz and gazing into his eyes.
Raz chuckled, scratching his head. “Well...uh...I'm not so sure how to explain this...the snow knocked most of the power lines out, so we couldn't exactly call the agency for help. So I was just wondering what to do...and then this sleigh just comes out of nowhere! It was really weird...but it wasn't Santa in the sleigh, it was Agent Cruller! Granted, he was fully convinced he was Santa...” The boy trailed off a moment, brow furrowing in confusion. “I have no idea what was up with that.”
Sasha shook his head. “Apparently it's one of his other personalities, it only comes up Christmas Eve,”
“Really?” Raz blinked. “Huh, how weird...so anyway, it took some begging, but we all finally managed to get him to give us a lift! So we all got in the sleigh and he dropped us off at HQ...”
“And while we there, darling, we decided it was about time we convinced your father to take a bit of a vacation.” Milla added, smiling.
“Yeah! So we got him to come, and then we all came here...and well, you know the rest.” Raz finished, still grinning.
Lili stared at him in silence for a moment. Then she started laughing. First she was giggling, then chuckling, and then she was throwing her head back and laughing so hard that tears came to her eyes.
Raz's brow furrowed. “What's so funny?”
“It's...” Lili choked out between giggles. “It's just...so...weird! And yet to us it seems so perfectly normal...it's just...it's funny!”
The goggle-headed boy stared at her for another moment. Then he started laughing too. “I...I guess it is!” He said with a grin, leaning so his forehead was pressed against hers as the two laughed together, supporting each other to keep them both from collapsing to the ground in fits of giggles.
The two stood like that for a minute before they finally sobered up enough to catch their breath, both breathing heavily. “Here...” Raz panted out, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the green box. “I got you something...” His face spread into a grin. “From your secret Santa.”
“Oh...” Lili blinked, then smiled and nodded as she took the gift. “It's not anything cheesy and stupid, is it?”
Raz snorted. “Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. You'll just have to open it and see, now won't you?”
The brunette rolled her eyes and bopped her boyfriend lightly on the head, then opened the box. Her eyes widened in shock. “Oh my God...” She murmured, reaching into the box and taking out a single, perfect flower made of glass. It was placed on a single, simple reflective stand. And there, inscribed upon it, were three simple words.
“I love you.” Lili read aloud, tracing the words with her fingertips.
“Well, I knew you liked flowers, so...yeah...” Raz blushed, shuffling his feet. “I know it's kind of cheesy, but--”
Lili set the glass flower aside, throwing her arms around her boyfriend yet again. “This is the cheesiest, stupidest, most thoughtful gift anyone's ever given me...you stupid idiot...thank you.” She cried out.
While most people would have been offended, Raz just chuckled, hugging her back. “You're welcome.”
After a few moments Lili finally pulled away, glancing at the tree. “Here...” She said, levitating over the last package that had been left under the tree. “I got this for you. I hope you like it, I went through a lot to get it.” She said, handing it to him.
Raz blinked, then tore it open. Upon seeing what it was he let out a fanboy squeal
. “OH MY GOD! ISSUE 25! YOU CAN'T GET THIS ANYWHERE, NOT EVEN ON EBAY!” He exclaimed.
“I know.” Lili grinned.
“Oh man...but...how did you...oh my GOD Lili you are awesome!” Raz cried.
Sure, Raz may have been a Psychonaut now, but we all know he's still a comic book fanboy at heart.
Lili giggled. “Glad you like it.” She said, giving him another hug.
It was then that the other occupants of the room finally decided to make themselves known with several coughs and clearings of the throat. Both Raz and Lili turned and blinked to see that everyone was grinning at them.
Lili blinked. “Why are you all looking at us like that?”
Chops grinned. “Look where you're standing, eh?"
Both Raz and Lili blinked again, then glanced up to see a sprig of mistletoe hanging above them.
“...Um...” Raz flushed, his face becoming redder than his goggle lenses. “Does...this mean we have to...uh...”
“Oh, how romantic!” Elka gasped. “Even for losers like you, there's possiblities!”
“Yeah! Raz, give the little lady a kiss!” JT called.
“But...in front of you all?” Raz gasped.
“Go on Raz! Kiss her!” Elton cheered, raising his glass of eggnog high.
“Um...” Raz gulped, turning back to Lili, whom was still blinking up at the mistletoe. “So...uh...”
“Wow. This is like, the most cliché thing ever.” Lili commented.
Raz gave a nervous laugh. “Aha...yeah...well, maybe we should just--” He was them cut off as Lili quite suddenly grabbed him by the front of the shirt, pulling him closer.
“It wouldn't be cliché if it wasn't good all the other times it happened.” She whispered, amber eyes gazing deeply into jade.
Raz flushed. “I...guess you're right...” He smiled, leaning closer.
With that, the two kissed.
“Oh, how adorable~!” Milla squealed amongst the many flashes and clicks from various cell phones and digital cameras that had been whipped out of seemingly nowhere. “Aren't they cute, Sasha?”
“Yes, young love. Quite possibly the stupidest thing on the planet.” Sasha murmured dryly, though he was smiling as he folded his arms before him.
“I cannot believe my own daughter is already doing this at the age of ten...” Truman muttered, putting his face in his hands, and thus shielding himself from the sight of Elton and Milka still making out passionately on the couch.
“Whoo! Go Raz! Go Lili!” Clem and Crystal cheered.
Finally, Lili and Raz parted, smiles spread on both of their faces.
“Wow...” Lili murmured.
Raz grinned. “So...what do you think?”
Lili blinked in confusion. “Huh?”
“I promised I would make this the Best Christmas Ever for you, remember?” Raz asked, his grin widening. “So...did I?”
Lili stared at him for a moment. Then, without warning, he reached up, grabbed the front of Raz's Santa hat, and pulled it down over his eyes.
“Ack! Hey!” Raz cried, pawing at his face in an attempt to push back his hat. His girlfriend laughed once more, hugging him closer.
“Idiot. Of course you did...you've never broken a promise to me before, why would you start now?” She said, voice muffled by the material of Raz's jacket again.
Raz pushed his hat back up and blinked down at her for a moment. Then he laughed, hugging her back once more.
“I guess you're right. Merry Christmas, Lili.”
“Merry Christmas, Raz.”
It really was the Best Christmas Ever.
Hey everyone! This is Digitaldreamer, and I'd like to take this time to thank you for reading through this whole thing! It's been insane to type, but it's been an adventure. There have definitely been points where I just wanted to quit, where I hated this fic and wanted it to die, as I'm sure all my buddies on IM would testify to if you asked them. But...well, I pulled through, and for that I am glad.
Thank you so much, each and every one of you who reviewed this, and even those who didn't. I can only assume if you're reading this you've read each and every chapter, and I thank you for that. I know some of them weren't the best, but as long as you all enjoyed it, I'm happy.
After this I'm going back to my usual schedule, meaning my other Psychonauts fanfic, Cursum Perficio, will be getting new updates every Sunday, starting the thirty-first. I figured hey, we'd end this year and start off the new one with a bang, ne? I hate to self-plug, but if you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to check it out. It's totally different from this one (a hell of a lot more drama and angst for one thing) but I truly think it's my best work. If any of you would like to read it and leave a review, I'd be honored.
...and I'm sure a good portion of you are cheering that I won't be updating and spamming everyone's forums/fanfiction pages/LiveJournal friends lists so much, but whatever.
Um, right, anyway...so, here ends Twenty Five Days. I hope you all enjoyed it, and if you could just stop and leave a review to let me know what you thought of this fic as a whole, I'd be ecstatic. Feedback means more to me than any other gift I could receive.
So, on that note, I'll end this by saying...
Thank you all so much! Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!