Author's website: http://www.geocities.com/unhingedds/
Disclaimer: Not mine,never will be. But they have a lot more fun when they play at my house.
Author's Notes: A silly little piece that was meant to be posted 'before' Boxing, but somehow got overlooked.
This story is a sequel to: A companion piece to "Boxing"
At night the sky seems to go on forever. I think that's the one thing about the Northern Areas I'll never get used to. Always makes me think of Fraser's "walking in the sky." Nights like tonight it seems like you could just step up into the heavens as easily as climbing stairs.
"Did you enjoy the program?" I glance over at Fraser. That's another strange thing about the night sky this far north; if it isn't overcast, you can see clear as if it were daylight outside.
It's been years since I saw a church Nativity pageant. I'd forgotten how much fun they were. "Is there some sort of universal rule that the kids who play shepherds have to wear their old man's bathrobe?"
Fraser laughs. He's laughed more in the last six months than he did in the entire two years we spent in Chicago. "You were a shepherd yourself?"
"And I always got stuck wearing the old man's bathrobe. I mean, I can understand how when you're eight or nine and live in Chicago, your idea of what exactly shepherds wear could be a bit loose. But I never did figure out where the bathrobes came into it." The snow crunches under our boots. "What were you?"
"Oh, usually a shepherd. I was one of the wise men once or twice, when I got older."
"I always wanted to be a wise man. You do not wanna know how bummed out I was when I found out the wise men didn't show up until Jesus was a year old."
"Why would that 'bum you out'?"
I shrug. "I was heavily into rebellion against my upbringing. Which meant, of course, that I refused to go to church. I used to tell mom that if they'd lie to me about the wise men, who knew what else they weren't telling the truth about."
"I can't see that going over well."
"It didn't. Just one of those ideas you get in your head when you're a kid."
"Why did you want to be a wise man?"
"Cause they got the cool costumes. Mary and Joseph and the shepherds all dressed pretty much alike, but the wise men got to wear robes and crowns and bring gifts." We walk a ways in companionable silence. Always used to hate silence when I was in Chicago. That was before I found out how beautiful real silence could be.
Fraser looks over at me. "The Christmas I was 11, there was a severe shortage of children in the church my grandparents and I attended. Besides Eric, June and I there were, I believe, only three or four others at most. And June came down with strep throat two nights before the pageant. Eric and I were firmly convinced that Miss Terravin was going to have a nervous breakdown, because how can you hold a Nativity pageant without Mary?"
"So June was the only girl?"
"The story of her life, I'm afraid. I can't remember if Eric suggested the idea to her or if Miss Terravin thought of it herself..." he cleared his throat self-consciously.
"I'm sorry to say I was. As the oldest, she felt I was the best suited to portray Mary."
"That is disgusting!" I smack his arm. "Christ, it's no wonder you turned out unhinged!"
"I was simply very grateful that, as a modest young woman, Mary kept herself well wrapped."
"You poor guy. And I thought having to wear my dad's bathrobe was the height of uncoolness. You were 11 and cross-dressing."
"Well you were! It was in the interest of the arts, but you were still pretending to be a girl."
"At least we didn't have a live baby like they did tonight. I had enough trouble knowing what to do with June's doll Emmaline."
"So Baby Jesus was a girl too?"
"The pageant went ahead on the assumption that no one would know the difference. Except June and Eric, and since June wasn't there, she couldn't complain."
I grin at the idea of Fraser as Mary and turn around to walk backwards, staring up at the stars. "The big thing at St. Anthony's was to be Mary. Or an angel, especially the Herald angel. The Herald angel had the most lines, and they had to be able to sing. So it was almost always a girl. I thought for the longest time that angels were girls."
"I would think the fact they were named Michael and Gabriel would've given you some sort of clue."
"I just figured it was a Biblical thing."
We've reached the outskirts of town. It being Christmas Eve almost everything is closed, though The Road to Hell Saloon seems to be doing brisk business. "What time do we have to be at Maggie's tomorrow?"
"Not before noon. I really wish she'd let us help her prepare the meal; she's got enough on her mind with David as a house guest."
"It's nice she finally met someone. Figures she'd marry another Mountie; gotta keep it in the family. Provided, of course, that big brother approves."
"I'm sure that David is a fine young man. Maggie would hardly be dating him otherwise."
"Ah, never know. Could be he's one a them bad-boy Mounties you hear about."
"Yeah. I got one myself. They're kinda hard to find though. Takes a while to dig down underneath all those layers of politeness."
"I can imagine." Fraser's smiling at me in that way that makes me fall in love with him all over again. "And where did you find this bad-boy Mountie? Because as a member of the RCMP, I should, perhaps, warn the District Office to keep their eyes open."
"Chicago. Not sure they exist here in the wild. I think you gotta take them somewhere warm and shake them up a little."
Still smiling, he grabs the front of my jacket and pulls me in for a kiss. When we finally break apart, we stand there grinning at each other like idiots.
"Last one to the hotel gets to be on top." I whisper, then I shove him into a snow bank and take off down the street. Don't need to look behind me to see if he's following. I know he is.
End Holidazed by MR: email@example.com
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