And now, I present to you, for your reading pleasure, a mishmash fanfic.

December 24, 2009
Residence Block F

I looked out the window with a satisfied sigh as I rubbed my eyes from my small table. Ah, breakfast. My favorite part of waking up on Christmas Eve. Nothing beats pouring out some warm heated milk into a bowl and munching some cereal. Grabbing my half-full box of Magical Rainbow Fluffy Cereal(tm), I immediately emptied the whole thing into my bowl, and respectively, my digestive system. Then, I got my coat and prepared for my trek around town.

It wasn't much, my little town. Used to be nameless for some time, then got changed to Rogue around the time when people started thinking about the fact that it had to be something. Talking to the old archivist Tom at the library, I'd learned that it was named that way because of the people in it, all recluses from the outside world, looking for a place to call home.

After staying at Rogue for a while, I landed a Mediator job, which was comfortable enough to live with, but not like the royals that lived at the upper class areas. Mediators are the only thing connecting the residents with the outside world, bringing in news from friends and family. After a bit of a scuffle back in the day, which I hardly have any recollection of, Rogue's head at the time decided he wanted to be extra paranoid that day and barred all contact with the outside. Over time, the people finally cracked and rebelled, and the Mediators were established.

I did my usual rounds of the day, with the news delivered. Some replied with smiles, some replied with smiles that hid grudges. It wasn't the best of jobs, as Mediating was reserved for the workaholic, or the insanely bored. After my rounds, I headed off to the town square, passing by Aim's Fishery for some dinner later. The Fishery was about the only place I could afford for actual food, as the only other place to avoid meat deficiency was Heat's Meat. Elite material, prime cuts that I wouldn't see in my lifetime, considering my paltry salary.

"Aim, get me some meat over here, I need my protein."

Looking up, the burly man grunted his approval. Heaving his large girth towards one of his equally monstrous freezers, he opened the door, stuffed a large bass into a plastic bag, and threw said bag at me at the speed of light. It promptly ended up in my face at the speed of light as well, which guaranteed its deliciousness. Naturally, I walked away nonchalantly out into the street with my fish in hand after payment. Outside, I met the Reaper hovering around in the snow, with Asator in tow.

"Hey, Grim. How goes?" I greeted.
"Ah, Fera. Great, great. It's Christmas Eve. I'm having some turkey with my boys tomorrow. You coming? Asator is, he hasn't got any work while I'm off."
"Oh, no thanks, Grim. I've got some stuff to deal with tomorrow. Nice of you to invite me, though, thanks."
"Ah well. Next time, then." And with that, he left me to wander some more, the assassin scowling and mumbling something about lack of blood.

Speeding up my steps, I arrived at my destination, the town square, which was buzzing with activity. Kids were running around happily around the big decorated old pine tree in the middle, people were talking excitedly about December 25th, the usual things. Looking around, I saw Shuryou wander around, hunched in search of something.

"Hey Shur, what're you looking for?"

"Wha- Oh, hey Fera. Nothing much. Just my manga's gone off flying somewhere. Those damned kids probably have it," he replied with a groan, walking towards the little boys and girls jumping around. He seemed a lot more respected around the boys for that reason, or perhaps just liked. Shuryou was well known to be a little... disliked around girls, though, especially the stricter ones. It's a wonder he actually has a wife, but nobody's seen her at all lately.

"Hey Fera." A greeting from behind, shoulder tapped. Surprised, I whirled around to see Shin munching on a piece of chocolate. He was wearing some of the stuff on his parka, too.
"Hey Shin. Snacking again? You know that-"
"Bah, I don't care of your rantings of diabetes and heart attacks and all that shit. As far as snacks go, I'm bulletproof," he interrupted.
I scowled at Shin's retort. "Whatever, just don't blame me if you get on a trip to DNR." The infirmary administrator, local nutcase who happened to stumble upon an MD.
"Blah, I don't care. DNR isn't that bad anyway."
"Twi just came back from the infirmary. I suppose you don't live under a rock enough to not know what happened to him," I retorted.
"..... Okay, point. But never mind. You wanna join me at the snack bar? I'm buying."

Reminding myself of my growing cavities, I contemplated on Shin's offer. A nice shake would go nicely for today. "Alright, alright. Just this once," I relented, my stomach agreeing with me for once, following him quickly to the Kupo Snack Bar, which was about the only diner/gorging facility there was in Rogue. The chimes jingled as I pushed the door in and looked inside. Nobody around, except for Harbin, who was brooding in the corner, and Corr, who seems to have bolted for the lavatory. Goroke greeted us heartily. "Shin, Fera, welcome, kupo! Anything for today? You know I'm not open for tomorrow, so it's your last chance for some good Moogle Bread~!"

I flinched at the thought of Goroke's culinary monsterpiece. "Hah, no way you're getting me to eat THAT, Mog." I turned to Pocket, the drinks man, instead. "Hey Pocky! Whip me and Shin up a couple of shakes, would ya?" The Whiscash twitched his whiskers, and they blurred in and out of sight as he prepared two heaping glasses of milk. "... Cash." I took the glass in my hand and began to sip. Looking towards my left, I saw that Shin had already finished his and was wiping off the cream from his face.

"I gotta go. Here, Mog," Shin said as he took out his card. His eyes twinkling, Goroke quickly took the card, swiping and returning it in one smooth move. "Laters, people." And with that, the ace snacker left the bar, leaving me to sip my shake in peace. Until...

BLAM. "FOODDRINKFEEDBURGERFRIESMEATSTEVENOOOOOOW" was what I vaguely heard during the cascade of glass shattering in my face. I ducked to take cover from the pieces under the table, cowering for what seemed like an eternity. Afterwards, I peeked out, and the mayhem seemed like it was over. Scratch that, it looked like it never happened. I looked over the counter, and Goroke was taking my glass and polishing it to a shine.

"W-what happened?" I asked, still kind of half-afraid, my eyes darting around.
The moogle simply replied, not looking up from his reflection in the glass, "Steve, kupo."
I breathed a sigh of relief. "Does he do that every time he comes here?"
"You get used to it, kupo," Goroke said somewhat monotonously, still polishing off the glass.

I lurked around a bit more, not sure what to do. It wasn't until the ice from the fish in my bag started dripping onto my pants that I snapped from my reverie. "Later, Mog." I said before leaving the bar. The sun was coming down, and it looked to me like it was about time to head for home. Then, as I walked along to the apartment, I suddenly remembered that I had yet to report to the sentry tower for tomorrow's round of Mediation news. Kicking myself mentally, I trundled over.

Rogue was continually patrolled by several Knights that only let certain people pass through the gates, among them Mediators and people on special business. Entering into the mighty Knights' sentry tower, I spotted a fellow Mediator, come from his daily report. He lifted his hand in greeting, and I reciprocated.

"Sup, Fera," he greeted.
"Hey, Zan. Not much, I'm just going in to report."
"Mmm, good. You coming to the party tomorrow?"
"I think so." Uncertainty, as I was planning to simply doze away the day when people mostly didn't care much about their Mediation.
"Right, see you there. Be sure to bring something, and make sure it's not something ghey." His favorite word.
"Uh, sure. Whatever."

Seeing Zan off, I reported in to the head Paladin. As I came in, he was sitting at his table, writing endless reports about everything. His fingers must be titans, I thought as he looked up from his pen.

"Fera. Going out for today?"
"Yeah, just wanted to check in on you."
"I'm fine right here."
"Man, Greco. You should really take a break sometime, it's Christmas, for God's sake!"
"Silly Fera. I was just about to leave," the Paladin replied, writing a few more words on the parchment and standing up to leave. He walked up to the door, passing me. Then, he stopped, turned around and said, "Y'know, Fera, why not just pass on the Mediation tomorrow. You should take a break once in a while, too. Take it easy."
I immediately brightened at the proposition. "Sure, why not."

Woo, free day.

Thus, I left the tower in high spirits, finally heading for home. As I walked by the streets of Rogue, I saw a small figure stand by the sidewalk, shivering without a coat. It was getting a bit hard to see through the snow, but when I looked harder, it turned out to be Chardes, the local artist trying to warm herself up by a tiny fire. She looked kind of out of place in the snowy scene. Then, I saw someone approach her, a tall and stocky man dressed in thick sunshine yellow-colored winter clothing.

"Hey Char. Why are you out in the cold, hmm?" the man asked.

"Landlord threw me out. Twi threw another brick in my window," she replied as if it was the most normal thing in the world, not looking up from her makeshift fire. I felt kind of sympathetic for the girl. Wasn't her fault.

"Hey, why don't you just go to ol' Bomber's place? He's got a nice warm fire you can rest at. You can help him with the fireworks he's preparing for tonight, if you'd like. I would invite you to my place, but I'll be shivering tonight, too, so uh."

Chardes looked up, then her sad-looking face turned to that of gratitude or something, I didn't quite see through the snow. "Th-thanks. I'll- I'll go now." she said, trotting off in the opposite direction.

Then, the man patted the girl on her shoulder, and trodded off. I couldn't mistake it for anyone other than Lux, as nobody else owned anything bright yellow in this town. I sighed to myself and kept on going, eventually reaching the apartment. After walking up the stairs to my shabby little apartment, sea bass in hand, I turned the key.

Thus forth, a freshly fired clay brick swiftly landed on my forehead. Giggling laughter filled my ears as I passed out.

Quote ()

Shuryou was well known to be a little... disliked around girls, though, especially the stricter ones. It's a wonder he actually has a wife, but nobody's seen her at all lately.

A LITTLE!? :[)

[color=brown]Fun story there, Fera. Good work. But it's not Christmas yet.[/color]
It's past Black Friday, so it's technically pre-Christmas. :[)
I chortled heartily at Steve's appearance.
<whacks Fera with a pasta cooker>

Anyway, I lol'd too much, good work.
[Hurls brick at Fera]


Quote (Twi)

[Hurls brick at Fera]


See above.

Quote (Corrupted Child)

Quote (Twi)

[Hurls brick at Fera]


See above.

Same here, but considering Void I'm probably on mount crumpit plotting to steal christmas from the "santa-djinni".
[Reconsiders putting Twi in lead for Chapter 2]

Quote (Fera)

[Reconsiders putting Twi in lead for Chapter 2]

*hurls another brick*
Man, it's not easy fitting in EVERYONE in there. I had to leave some out since I thought it was overly bloated.


Quote ()

Same here, but considering Void I'm probably on mount crumpit plotting to steal christmas from the "santa-djinni".
Zan should obviously be the lead...Looking at the world through his "Ghey Colored Glasses".

Quote (Fera)

[Reconsiders putting Twi in lead for Chapter 2]

And from the top of mount crumpet, void and his pet bass amp, Twi, were planning to stop christmas...
So...Chardes is the little match girl? Is she going to die from the cold? Aw, that makes me sad. That's the ghey ending, yo.
And now, after the silliness of Chapter 1, I'm proud to present the more sober (yeah, you wish) Chapter 2. Enjoy. *ducks inside bunker*

Chapter 2 — Memories

December 24, 2009
Residence Block B

Man, it's dark. Who turned out the lights? No, no, wait, that's just my eyes. Silly me.

As soon as my lids start to pry themselves open, some invisible force snapped them back into place as a sharp pain coursed through my head, focusing on my forehead. I reached out with my hand and placed it on the spot, triggering more spikes of agony. Reflexes didn't allow me to probe further, but I felt the wet roughness of a bandage wrapped around the wound. Well, at least I don't have to worry about infection or some shit like that.

Gritting my teeth, I strived to open my eyes once more, and after a couple of tries, I manage to keep them that way. I stole a glance at my watch and noted the time. It was getting a bit late, still the 24th, though. Then, surveying my surroundings, I found myself lying on a dusty carpeted floor, which still wore its burgundy colors well, despite looking like they haven't been touched in ages. The floor matched its surroundings, regal in every aspect, with the ceilings and walls covered in intricate stonework carvings. These, too, were dusty, and I could feel the cold air coupled with the floating particles start to wreak havoc on my sinuses. I snorted a couple of times to keep the germs out, even as I knew that the effort was futile, and that I was going to lie in bed for a couple of days trying to stay sane.

As I blew from my nose, I heard a faint grunt. Muscles tensed as I realized that I wasn't alone. Looking towards the source of the sound, I gazed upon a cloaked figure, its back turned towards me, dressed in tattered brown clothes. Shivering. The figure was sitting, cross-legged from my viewpoint, facing a well-stocked fire in the room's fireplace. The flames crackled noisily as the figure grunted again. I strained my ears to hear exactly what, and it wasn't until the figure repeated its call that I made out the word.

"Yeah, more or less," I replied warily, taking in the circumstances.
"....Good." From the tone, I'd take a stab and guess that the figure was male.

The figure turned his head, and there, I found my presumed captor. Weary with age and strained with suppressed emotions, (I guessed rage or sadness, but I prayed that it was the latter) the tired visage of old man Twi stared back, returning my glazed looks. Okay, time to take stock of the situation. Plus side: Twi. Minus side: Twi. Expletives ran unbidden through my mind.

Twi's eyes seemed to linger and squint, like he was holding back something. I prepared myself for the worst as he reached for something inside his cloak. My pupils dilated and eyes widened. Fight or flight, fight or flight, ...cower. My legs froze as deathly fear gripped them. The old man's fingers pulled away slowly, oh so slowly, from the dark recesses of his inventory. Whatever it was, I was determined not to see it as I clamped my eyes in terror and braced for whatever was coming.

I opened my eyes.

There, in front of my eyes, five wrinkled fingers were waving the delightful-smelling concoction in my face. Okay, I was hungry, but still a bit dubious, knowing the old man's recent hijinks. For all I know, he might've put cyanide in there and called it 'permitted flavoring'. I wouldn't put it past him. Still, my stomach once again intervened, justifying the treat for reasons of survival of the fittest. Ego against Id, and (un?)fortunately, Id won, granting access to scrumptious chocolate.

The sweet bitterness of the milky substance melted in my mouth as Twi turned back to tend to the fire. Then, he began to speak.

"How'sh outshide doin?"
By outside, he probably meant the town. "Well, tomorrow's Christmas, and everyone's getting ready for it."
"Ahh, yesh. Chrishmesh..." he trailed off as he went into a mumble. Fragments I heard were "hell" and "feking doosches".
"Hade dat day." He finally breaks his small monologue.
"Chrishmesh. Everyone's sho happy and jumpy about it, I don know for whad." Took a few seconds to understand the toothless talk.
"Oh, it's not so bad. There's all the good food."
"Feh, good food. Nushin' worsh eatin'." Understandable.

Then, as I was about to reply back, a clock struck twelve, and old man Twi started. I suddenly started feeling a little woozy, and the world seemed a little less material by the second. I glanced over at Twi, and he was on his feet, looking upwards at the carved ceiling. The blurriness was getting a lot thicker and I was getting a lot sleepier... Hey, look at that. The window's being lit up by really pretty stars. Sparkly.


Dammit. Just when I'd gotten the kid to sleep, this happens.
Bile rose in my throat, but I forced the bitter fluid down, retained my cool and collected attitude. I won't lose myself, not now.
Okay, maybe a little will do. "You!" I hissed. Feelings of loathing arose quickly, prompting me to reach out with my hand and grasp his throat with a vicegrip.

Too bad my fingers slid around the incorporeal form like I was fumbling through smoke. The oldest resident and founding father of Rogue laughed at my antics, like I was some sort of puppet show for his amusement. Goddamn it.

"Twi, relax. It's not the man you knew all those years ago." The ghost tried to pacify my rage. Of course, ghost or no ghost, he was still one of the top guys on my list of 'People I Hate More than Usual'.
"Whassat? Can't fool these ears, motherfucker." I retorted. If anything, I wasn't letting this man near anything. I then proceeded to throw a few more F-bombs, expletives, what have you, quite a few that'd make Dark squirm in his pants. And he just stood, er, floated there, smiling all the while. Not what I'd expect from old Nalerenn.
Finally, I was finished, my breath exhausted.

"....huff, huff, fine, I'm done."
"Then I'd like to start." Nal then lifted his hand, and the world seemed to melt into nothing. I just stared at him, quite a bit out of breath from my marathon of sailor-talk. The black nothingness then began to change into color again, but not back in my house.

A playground, with all the usual fittings, like a swing set, the slide, monkey bars, and all that shit you used to worship, but now throw into a lonely corner of your brain. Everything looked like it was back when I was a- hey, wait. A. Second.

This is my old playground, I thought.

I looked around, and saw myself, running through the playground area without a care in the world. Tears fell as I saw my own happy face struggling with the monkey bars, sliding down the slide, and generally enjoying playtime. Then, I saw the memories that I didn't want to remember. Little ones pushed down seesaws, pulled down the bars, shoved off the swings. Bullies. Seeing me cowering in a corner, they picked up their implements of torture and started flinging them at me.

I turned away, only to see Nalerenn's face in mine, smug as ever. "You seemed quite happy back then."
"....Nobody would play with me. They said I was weird." I stated flatly and looked somewhere else.
"Even dimwits like you should know."
"Alright, alright, I'm not going to start a fire." Nal said as he waved his arm, dissolving the world into mush once more. I looked towards the source of his voice, but he was gone.
Right shoulder tapped. I turn around. Shuryou.

"Hey, Twi. I'm here-"
"Lemme guess. You're going to show me something too."
"Spoilsport." The ghost's face screwed up as he, too, lifted a hand. The world began to change once more, this time, I saw not a playground, but a home. As expected, it's mine. The fire was crackling in the fireplace, the walls were still unscathed, and everything looked brand new. The snow in the window indicated that it was winter.

"There." Shur simply pointed towards one direction, and it was me, yet again, in front of a tall figure. It seemed like I was talking to the figure, and something told me it wasn't a casual chat. Something of importance was more likely. But what? What exactly?

Then, as I looked on at my own image, the realization hits me. I edge closer, wanting confirmation, but dreading exactly what I was looking for.
It came, like a bolt of thunder signaling the arrival of a storm. "Will you marry me?"
Horror filled me as I saw the instant replay, some years ago. Rejection, with nothing but a simple word and a shake of the head. The figure left my home without another word. I was left there, stunned. Both the real and the projected were brought down to knees, sobbing. Shuryou came up to me and patted me on the shoulder.

"Sorry, Twi. It just wasn't meant to happen."
"It-I..." I stammered. "I just wanted someone to share my life with."
"You know that I didn't know about you and her."
"I don't hold any grudges..." I slurred. Then, a consideration, a re-statement. "Well, except for certain people. But you're not one of them." Face in hands, I grabbed the edges of my graying hair. "I just hate myself for that night..."
"Then stop. This is tearing you apart. Stuff happens, rocks fall, live your life." The voice was slowly becoming more and more faint.
"Yeah, but I-..." Turning around, there was no more Shuryou. Just more black. Curses and expletives. Then, I saw someone walk up to me. A tiny little girl. She seems kind of sad.

I stood up and walked to the girl, curious at the fact that this particular girl didn't scream in terror at the sight of me. Greetings, I thought. "Hey, little girl. Why are you so sad?"
The girl just looked up at me with this sadness plastered all over her face. Then she cried. I felt somewhat guilty for some reason, and didn't know what to do except to watch over her. After some time, I reached to touch her shoulder and reassure her.
"Hey, don't cry-" My hand passed right through her shoulder. She looked up at me. Her sad face evaporated as she said, "Grampa?"

I froze. The girl simply looked at me, and before I knew it, her face was already melding back into the darkness, and I was alone again. The darkness washed away as another familiar image replaced it. This time, it wasn't a dream.

I turned my head, and there was everything, back in place. The crackling fireplace, the snowing winter, the kid who happened to be enough of a sucker to eat my food. I walked up to the wall and knocked on it a few times. A brick fell into my hand after some knockings. I held up the fired clay to my cheek, to test its materiality. The rough edges greeted me with their abrasiveness. I felt content.

Then, I looked at the kid, then the window. Bomber's fireworks were still merrily cracking outside, and my cat Raikou was looking at it with natural feline fascination. I chuckled, then walked up to the kid, who was still knocked out by my treat earlier.

"Hey, kid. Wake up, you're missing all the fireworks."

December 24, 2009
Kupo Snack Bar

Harbin twirled around the straw in his milkshake, hesitant to take another sip. He glanced towards the toilet, grumbling about the occupant taking his sweet time. Then, the door chimes rang, and he turned his attention to the entrance. His face worked itself into a smile as he saw the cloaked person enter. Then, a frown.

The person sat down opposite of the Head, not removing his cloak.
"You're late, Niax." Harbin grunted, his frustration venting.
"It's not easy to get this kind of stuff into a Head's house. I'd think you'd know."
"Whatever. Corr's taking his time with shit." A hidden raised eyebrow. Gestures towards the lavatory door, confirmation. As if on cue, the small boy hurried out the door, taking a seat rather swiftly with the two already seated.

"Would've thought you'd know not to take up Mog's offer on his special." Niax commented, somewhat cynical at the boy's presence.
"W-well, how was I supposed to know?" the boy retaliated, then realized his mistake as he sank into his seat, trying not to make much more noise.
The Head kept his eye on the cloaked fellow. "You're done, then."
"It was easy."
"Perfect," Harbin replied, confident. They will pay. They will all pay.
Ho ho. This is some delightful reading, Fera. It's intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Keep it up. (^.^ )b