Did you know that Advent Calendars usually stop on the 24th? Right now you should be spending time with family! (Just kidding, this only takes a few minutes to read, you can do it while they’re breaking their new toys^_~)
Cape High Christmas Elf
It got worse. The deeper we got into the U.S. the more people started chasing me. I’ve been running ever since we reached South Dakota. We’re in Nebraska, now. Sure, Ace has offered to help me out, but I already had him help me twice. I’m determined to do this on my own. The only good thing about this route is that, according to Ace, there are less people living around here. If that’s true, I’m NEVER going to places where there are a lot of them. Personally, I think he just told me that to make me feel better.
“We’re going to reach the Missouri border, soon,” Ace says. “We could say that you’ve officially reached your goal, then, since it’s the same state, right?”
“Worry about that AFTER I lose the ‘escort’ please?” I say, looking over my shoulder at the line of cars following me. They wanted to make it all slow and important, but somehow it’s turned into a bit of a car chase situation. I COULD speed up, sure, but it’s dangerous for them to be driving that fast! They might get in a wreck. And with all the Christmas decorations they’ve placed on their cars, it just seems mean, you know?
“We can go invisible, again,” he offers, sounding far too amused.
“You ARE invisible, again,” I point out, glancing over my shoulder and seeing the people wave excitedly at me. “I’m going to have to do a show, or something, aren’t I?”
“Or ask kids what they want for Christmas,” he says. “Face it, Bear, you represent a happy thing, and people want to be a part of it. Well, unless they’re Jewish, or Muslim, or another religion that traditionally doesn’t celebrate–“
“I get it, I get it,” I say, snorting. “But we can’t lead them straight to Cape High, right? So you’re right about the border. Once we see a place large enough for them all to pull into, we’ll do it.”
“Over there might work?” he says, pointing to a parking lot of a store.
“Fine, let’s go,” I say, motioning to the cars behind me and veering to the right. I look around. It appears to be an abandoned store, and it looks a bit shabby, but that might be a good thing. It’s better if no one’s inconvenienced by this. They willingly pull into the lot, honking their horns and hopping out of the cars as soon as they’ve parked. Soon I’m surrounded by little kids, all lined up to hug me. Before I can explain that I’m not a big hugger, a little girl about three throws her arms around my legs, hugging me tightly. “Dragon!” she says, and then jumps up and down, trying to touch Snowy D.
“I’ll let you pet him, if you calm down,” I say. She stops, looking up at me expectantly, and I bring Snowy D down to let her touch him. Soon I’m surrounded by kids petting my puppet dragon, almost reverently. “I made him. This fur part comes off,” I explain, taking the fur off to show the wood.
“So how does he move?” an older kid asks. “I don’t see any strings.”
“He doesn’t have any,” I say. “My super power is to manipulate non-living things. Wood is perfect for that.”
“Cool,” he says, reaching out to touch the wood part.
“Are you going to Cape High?” a girl asks.
“Yeah,” I say. “So you guys know about Cape High?”
“Everybody knows about Cape High,” she says. “I wish I was a super. I would love to go there; I bet it’s a lot more fun than my school is.”
“I wouldn’t know,” I admit. “Can we let some new people pet the dragon, now?” I ask, motioning for those closest to move out of the way. “Thanks, everyone.” Another wave of people step forward, along with more questions, and so on for an hour, until I feel someone place a hand on my shoulder. I look up, not seeing anyone. “Ah,” I say, “thanks for coming, everyone, but I really need to go, now. So… Merry Christmas?”
And I disappear, amidst a loud rumble of cheers and applause. I think they think I’m the one that made me disappear. Oh well, can’t explain it now. I jump onto the invisible surfboard and we race away. I yawn, and sit down on the board. “Food bag?” I ask him. The fluffy bag is dropped in my lap and I start digging through it. Soon I’ve eaten my fill and am watching the world pass below us. It doesn’t seem like long at all before we pull to a stop over a gigantic canyon with yellow tape around it.
“Welcome to your home away from home for the next four years,” Ace says as we become visible again. He drops to the ground in front of the yellow tape and I almost fall over as the board disappears. He looks around, a hint of confusion on his face.
“What?” I ask.
“I expected a bigger welcome,” he admits. He stops at a rock, which shoots up and reveals a screen. “Can I get someone to input Bear into the system?”
“Have him place his hand on the screen,” a female says. I head forward, doing as she says, and see glowing footprints appear in front of me. “Bear, step on the footprints—“
“WAAAIIIIT!” someone yells from above. I look up, my eyes widening in surprise as I see Dolly being carried by Voltdrain. She drops down, right into my arms. “BEAR! Oh, I’m so proud of you! I have so much to tell you! How are Mom and Dad? How’s Santa? Did you eat properly on your way down?” she blasts me with questions, only to stop and smile brilliantly at me. “I’ve missed you so much!”
I wrap my arms around my sister, holding her tightly. Usually I would avoid something like this, but it seems like forever since I saw her. “I’m fine. They’re fine,” I say. “I’ve missed you, too.”
“Zoe, we will need permission for Dollface, as well,” Voltdrain says to the panel.
“Of course! She’s more than welcome,” she says. Soon we’re all heading into the canyon, where I stop at the top, staring down at the base. A group of kids are there, and they start cheering as they see me.
“Welcome to Cape High,” a man says, flying up to meet us. “We’ve been waiting for you. We’ve spoken before, but I’m Nico, your new principal.”
“Are we early?” I ask, suddenly realizing. “The open house was supposed to be this weekend, right?”
“We’ll do the full tour when Jules gets here. For now, we figured we’d welcome you to the school with a little party.” I nod, heading down the steps. I can’t help but search through the group, looking for her… for Piper. She’s nowhere to be seen. I feel disappointed, even though I know it’s ridiculous. This is a completely one sided crush. She doesn’t even know who I am.
“Hi!” a girl says, appearing in front of me. “The party’s actually going to be inside. So if you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to the dorms.”
“You’re Zoe?” I ask.
“Recognize my voice already?” she asks.
“Hey, Bear! Welcome to Cape High!” Aubrey calls, waving.
“Thanks,” I say. I glance over my shoulder at Dolly, who’s looking around with wonder. She seems excited. I feel… worried, I decide as all the kids group around me. They start introducing themselves, so fast that I only have a vague idea of who is who. I yawn, again, realizing that I’m exhausted. This trip has been a very long one. It’d be rude to go to my dorm instead of going to the party, right? And I promised myself I would try and fit in better this time around.
The others lead me to the rec room, and I feel someone push me through the crowd. “Go sit down, I’ll get you something to eat,” he says, disappearing before I can find out who he is. I turn to the rec room, and stop, staring blankly at the massive teddy bear in the middle of the room.
“She’s asleep, again, huh?” someone says with a laugh. “Well, knowing her, she’ll sleep through this whole thing.”
I barely hear it, since I’ve seen that teddy before. I walk into the room, as silently as I can, and finally see the girl sound asleep on top of her teddy throne. Before I can look for another place to sit, the room is full of people.
“Sit down,” Zoe urges me, “make yourself comfortable.” I do as she says, sitting down right next to the bear, only to blush a bit as they all start laughing. I have no idea what they’re laughing about. “I’ll get your new phone set up, if you would hand me your old one?”
I hesitate. “Can you, um, keep Jingle?” I ask, pulling it out and handing it over. “That’s the North Pole’s system. She’s really useful…”
“I’ll see what I can do,” she says, walking away with it.
“You don’t mind me sleeping over, do you?” Dolly asks as she walks in. “I’d like to be with Bear for the open house. I know Dad would have come, but… actually, I’m not sure why Dad didn’t come.”
“I didn’t let him,” I say, quietly. “I had a bet with Santa.” I lean against the bear when I’m sure it won’t move with my weight, relaxing. “It’s been a very long couple of days…”
“I bet,” Cold Steel says.
“We have an apartment you could stay in, or we can set up a dorm room, if you want to be close to your brother,” Nico says to Dolly. I lean a little more heavily against the bear, feeling my eyes get heavy. The next thing I know, I’m asleep.
There’s snow, Piper realizes. It’s not her dream, because she doesn’t dream, really. She’s completely out of it until she wakes. No, this is someone else’s dream. She should have never turned her bracelet down. She freezes, terrified that something is going to happen that she won’t be able to handle, but… in the distance, she hears Christmas music.
She cautiously looks around, and stops as she sees a person in a white fur outfit sitting on a hill. Slowly she walks over, waiting until he looks up. “Hi,” he says. “Take a seat.”
She sits where he motions, and tugs her knees up to her chest. “This… what are we doing?” she asks.
“Watching the snowflakes,” he says, falling silent. The snow starts to grow larger, until gigantic, perfect snowflakes are falling all around them. Above them, the Aurora Borealis lights the sky, the colors reflect on the ice of the snowflakes. A fluffy dragon flies through the sky.
“Is it… is this a memory?” she asks.
“Yeah,” he says.
“Yeah,” he says, giving her a shy little smile, “it is.”
And here we are, at the end of the 2017 Advent Calendar. But don’t worry, you’ll get more Bear in the future. Like I’ve mentioned before, this is going to be turned into a full-length book when I can fit it into the main story. Until then, enjoy a cute moment between him and the girl of his dreams. (Oh, man, that one was even too cheesy for Snowy D OTL.)
Merry Christmas, and a happy new year, my friends, and in the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us, every one<3