Seasonal Re-Post : A Gargoyles Christmas Special Part I
Author's Note: this story is dedicated to my fellow garg fans and the
folks at Disney (to whom most of these characters belong). Warmest
Season's Greetings to all!
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus ..."
"Remind me again," said the Puck, wind streaming back his
long white hair and jingling the belled tassels of the cap he wore, "how
you talked me into this."
Bronx whined, either seconding the motion or in protest. It
was hard to tell which made the doggoyle the most unhappy: being
whisked along unsupported by anything except Puck's magic, or
wearing stuffed felt reindeer antlers and a red leather harness studded
with big brass bells.
"Hush up, the both of ye pair o' humbugs," Hudson said
gruffly, squinting into the granular snow and correcting for the weight
of the heavy, lumpy burlap bag. "I didna want to be doing this by
myself, but nor did I want the others to see me like this."
"Well, I think you look perfectly darling," Puck teased,
zipping effortlessly over Hudson and plucking at the fur-trimmed collar
of his red suit. "Say 'ho-ho-ho' again."
"Ho, ho ho," Hudson sighed.
"Oh, come on! You can do better than that! After all, this was
"Well, ye went along with it! And all I did was ask ye for a
sack. 'Twas yer curious snooping that led to ye finding out what I was
planning. Ye invited yerself along, so ye've no cause to complain. Why
did ye, anyway?"
"Who else looks the part?" Puck shrugged and extended his
feet in front of him to inspect his little pointy shoes. "True, the
wardrobe leaves something to be desired ... I don't think this green suits
me. I need a more Robin Hood green, Lincoln green." He waggled his
fingers and shimmered, his outfit darkening a few shades. "Ah!
Splendid! What a wondrous freedom it is to be myself again!"
"Aye, frolic all ye want, laddie, but if Oberon catches ye, 'tis
no one's fault but yer own."
"Pah. He loves this time of year! He wouldn't be mad." Even
as he spoke, Puck shot a quick glance around, and his merry grin
"Hrowf," Bronx said. He brought up his hind leg to scratch
vigorously at his harness, then looked down at the city lights blurring
past below him and whined again.
"Now, he looks ridiculous," Puck remarked. He flexed his
fingers, cracked his knuckles. "Want me to turn him into the real
"Nay!" Hudson's cry was drowned out by Bronx's frantic bark.
"Ye'll get over it."
"Oh, that I will. I'm sure I'll find plenty of things to amuse
myself! But do, do come back to the castle that way! It would be the hit
of the party."
"Thank ye, but nay." Hudson briefly imagined the look on
Goliath's face, and shuddered. "Now, let's be hurrying along."
The volume of the tv nearly drowned out the sounds of the
Maria Chavez went into the small kitchen, rubbed her aching
head, and added a hearty dollop of rum to her eggnog. There went
another hundred or so calories. And dinner wasn't even ready yet.
"Mom!" Sarah burst in. "Josh won't let me watch Rudolph!"
"Mom, do we have to watch that stupid baby show?" Josh, at
twelve, was two years older than Sarah and looked more and more like
Alan every day.
"We always watch Rudolph on Christmas Eve!" Sarah
"It's so lame!"
"Is not! It's a tradition!"
"Kids! Kids! Josh, what's the matter with letting her put on the
show? If you don't like it, you don't have to watch."
"There's nothing else to do. My Gameboy batteries are dead. If
I had a Playstation --"
"Dad says you can't have one!" Sarah butted in. "They're too
expensive. So there!"
"Well, he got you a bike!"
Maria snapped her fingers sharply. To her surprise, the trick
which she hadn't used in five years worked, and both children quieted
and turned to look up at her.
"Okay. Sarah, you can watch Rudolph, and as soon as it's over,
Josh gets to choose a show." As the boy's lip began to pooch out in that
pouty way that always drove her crazy, she finished quickly. "Josh, you
can peel the potatoes. That should keep you from being bored while you
Sarah stuck out her tongue at her brother and started to prance
back to the living room.
"And you, Sarah, when Rudolph is done, can set the table."
"Ha, ha!" Josh jeered, imitating the bully from The Simpsons.
With that fight defused, Maria returned her attention to the
kitchen. The turkey was almost done, the gravy had turned out nice and
thick, and both pies were in the fridge. Pumpkin for her and Josh, peach
Josh hauled the bag of spuds out from under the sink and set to
work with a few token grumbles.
"Don't get too many peelings down the drain," she cautioned
He looked askance at the baking dish full of yams, and the bag
of miniature marshmallows she was about to open. "Are you going to
put those on there?"
"Rhonda says you're just supposed to cook them with brown
"Well," she said, trying to keep her voice light, "Rhonda isn't
here, is she?"
"Yeah, but she says --"
"Rhonda decided at the last minute that she and your father
were going to spend Christmas in Hawaii, didn't she? So, since she's
doing that, why don't we just make the yams my way?"
"Jeez, Mom, sorry!"
She sighed, then smiled and ruffled his hair, making him roll
his eyes. "No, honey, I'm the one that should apologize. Work's been
tough, and I wasn't expecting you and Sarah for Christmas. Not that you
aren't welcome! I love having you here and I'm so glad you came! But I
thought you were all going out to the ranch to spend the holidays with
Rhonda's folks, so I didn't have your room ready or food for a good
"I'm sick of that dumb old ranch anyway," he said, chopping at
a potato. "They don't even have cable, and there's nobody to play with
for miles and all the kids out there are dorks anyway."
"That's too bad," Maria said, trying not to smirk.
"Mom, do you like Rhonda?"
"I hardly even know her," she evaded. "But your father likes
her, and so do you and Sarah. That's what matters."
"She's okay. Better than Lisa. And lots better than Candee."
Maria fought valiantly to keep her face expressionless,
although she wanted to grimace at the mention of the exotic dancer
Alan had first hooked up with after moving out. An investment broker,
already balding, already with the beginnings of a middle class pot belly,
and an airhead blond with more implants than all the cast of Baywatch.
"How come they didn't take us to Hawaii?" Josh asked.
"Well ... I don't know, but isn't it nice that we get to be
"Hey, she's putting in another tape!" Josh cried, peeking into
the living room. He threw down the potato peeler and raced to grab the
remote away from Sarah.
"I was going to watch Frosty!"
"Rudolph's done! It's my turn!"
"You're helping Mom!"
"Quit kicking me, you little brat!"
Maria plucked Sarah away from Josh. He rubbed his leg and
glared at her. Sarah struggled and broke into whiney sobs.
"Sarah, I told you that Josh got to pick next."
"You always let him do what he wants!" Sarah bawled. "You
like him better! Why did I have to come here? I wanted to go see the
horses, and Ellie and Lou! I hate it here!"
"Sweetheart, you don't mean that," Maria said, trying to be
soothing and thinking that, much as she hated seeing battered children
brought into the station, there were times when any parent just felt like
giving a kid a whack.
"I do! I do! I do!"
"Dad and Rhonda spoil her rotten!" Josh accused.
"They do not!"
"That's enough!" Maria yelled. She set Sarah down roughly.
"It's Christmas Eve, dammit! I am going to have peace and harmony if I
have to lock you in your room!"
Sarah was too stunned to keep up her tantrum. Josh moved
slowly, reaching to turn off the television. Maria turned her back on
both of them and stalked into the kitchen, where she picked up the
peeler and began brutally skinning the potatoes.
The silence held as she chopped up the potatoes and dumped
them into a pot of boiling water. She basted the turkey, opened a can of
cranberry jelly (wonder what sainted wonderful Rhonda would say
about that), and piled twice as many marshmallows as usual onto the
"Uh, Mom?" Josh said hesitantly from the doorway. Sarah was
crowded behind him.
She instantly turned and opened her arms. Both kids ran to her
and they embraced there in the middle of the kitchen, all of them trying
to apologize at once, words stumbling over each other.
"Oh, kids," Maria said, kissing each of them on the cheek.
"Let's try and have a good holiday, okay? I know you didn't plan to
come here, that you feel dropped off and left out, but I'm your mother
and I love you, and I want nothing more than for us to have a wonderful
Christmas together. So how about you go wash up, and we'll get this
dinner on the table?"
They scampered off to the tiny bathroom, and miraculously
didn't fight over who got to go first but shared the sink and the soap.
Then, without being asked, they helped each other set the table while
Maria put the last touches on the meal.
"Can I turn on the tree lights?" Josh pleaded. "I know it isn't
time yet, but ..."
"Go ahead." Maria saw no reason to keep up with Alan's
foolish custom of leaving the tree unlit until Christmas morning. "I wish
I'd gotten a bigger one this year, but with no one to enjoy it but me and
-- but me, I didn't think I needed it."
Josh picked up the tree, an eighteen-inch spruce in a red foil-
wrapped pot, and switched on the single strand of lights.
"That's okay, this one is cute." Sarah adjusted the plastic star
on top and flashed Maria one of her adorable smiles.
There was a knock on the glass door. A taloned tap that Maria
had heard many times before. She whirled in that direction, nearly
dropping the gravy boat.
"It's ..." Josh said, staring at the large figure.
"Santa?" Sarah asked tremulously.
"Wow, cool!" Josh cried. He dashed to the door, flipped the
lock, and slid it open. Cold wind swirled snow across the carpet. "A
"Ho, ho ho!"
Bronx bounded in, jingling with a dozen brass bells, antlers
hanging askew on his head. He went right for the couch, jumped up
next to Sarah, and began to lick her face. The girl eeked and giggled
and squealed. "He's slobbering on me!"
"Hudson, oh my God, what are you doing?" Maria said,
feeling hysterical laughter bubble up in her throat. He was wearing a
Santa costume, toting a huge bag, and with Bronx as his reindeer had
everything to complete the picture except ...
... an elf.
Maria's jaw dropped as the green-clad sprite flew into her
apartment, spun around, perched cheekily on nothing at all, and laughed
merrily. "Oh, no, no, no! This will never do! Let's deck these halls and
don we now our gay apparel! Fa la la, fa la la, la la la!"
"Behave yerself!" Hudson said.
"Twinkle, twinkle, little tree," the elf chanted, pointing. "This
is what, by Puck, you'll be!"
A thin strand of gold sparkles shot from his finger and curled
around the tree, which grew suddenly to eight feet, bedecked with gold
balls and strands of shining silver beads. The plastic star transformed
into a dazzling crystalline many-pointed starburst of white light.
"What are ye doing?" Hudson asked warningly. "Dinna be
getting too frisky with yer magic, now!"
"I'm just getting warmed up!" Puck fired off several more
A plastic holly wreath levitated, expanded, and stretched out
into a garland that looped its way all along the living room walls,
sprouting large red velvet bows.
The fat red candle that had been in the middle of it divided
into a brass carousel, with tinkling bells and angels above twelve tinier
Maria and her kids were all suddenly wearing bright red pants
and matching green and white ski sweaters with a snowflake pattern.
Earrings shaped like Christmas ornaments dangled from Maria's ears.
A brick fireplace appeared where the closet door had been,
and a moment later whooshed into blazing warmth. Three bulging
stockings, embroidered with their names, hung from the mantle.
A small handcrafted and painted wooden nativity scene resting
on top of the television was lost in a cloud of smoke, which then cleared
to reveal a crowd of people and animals. Sheep bleated, a camel uttered
a honking snort, three crowned men turned in surprise with gifts in their
hands, a child wailed.
"Nope, went a little too far," Puck said, waving his hand and
returning the nativity scene to normal size.
"Control yerself!" Hudson scowled.
"For someone dressed like Santa, you sure don't have much
Christmas spirit! Better practice your ho-ho-ho some more!"
Hudson looked at Maria, embarrassed. "He be a friend, sort
"Why, I thought you didn't like me!" Puck chortled and soared
effortlessly around them in a complex figure eight.
Josh and Sarah were just standing and gaping. Sarah's hands
were clamped on the sides of Bronx's head to hold him back, but her
arms were strengthless and the doggoyle butted her into the couch. She
slid to the floor, still openmouthed.
"Mom...?" Josh finally managed to say. "Is it real? Is it?"
"Aye, lad," Hudson said. "Merry Christmas to ye."
"Are you ... Santa?" Sarah asked, getting off the floor and
stumbling as Bronx bumped her in the knees.
"Nay, young lassie, I be but a friend o' yer mother's, come to
bring ye some holiday cheer."
"Mom, you know a gargoyle! That's so cool!" Josh cried.
"What's your name? Is this your dog? Is he a real elf? He looks
like a real elf. Do you have a sleigh or did you fly by your wings? Are
you one of those gargoyles that was on tv? I thought that was all made
up! Are those presents for us?" Sarah made up for her earlier shocked
silence in a single burst.
Hudson took a step back, chuckling and holding up his hands.
"One at a time, lassie, one at a time! I'm called Hudson, and that there
be Bronx. Him ye can call Puck."
"At your service, milady!" Puck seized up Maria's hands and
bowed over them, all while floating several inches above the carpet.
"And aye, these presents be for ye," Hudson said, lowering his
sack with a sigh of relief. "'Tis glad I am to be putting that down, I tell
"Wow!" Josh was on his knees next to the bag in the blink of
an eye, pulling it open and nearly hyperventilating in his excitement.
"Can we open them? Look, that one has my name on it!"
"What about the stockings?" Sarah jumped up and down,
clinging to Maria's arm.
"What about your supper?" Puck reminded. He hovered over
the table, grabbed a spoon in each hand, and began to play music from
the Nutcracker on the glasses and dishes.
Maria, still dazed, looked helplessly at Hudson. He shrugged
and smiled endearingly.
She started to laugh. "Dinner can wait! Let's see what you
The kids, obviously having been ready with a chorus of
"aww," blinked and then cheered. Josh started tearing ribbons and
Sarah went to the fireplace that shouldn't be there and took
down stockings that seemed real enough. She dumped hers out and
squealed in delight as all her favorite candies poured across the coffee
"You shouldn't have," Maria said to Hudson. "How can you
afford all this?"
"I've a ... benefactor who owes my clan more than a few
favors. He was pleased to provide the gifts. I hope yer wee ones like
"You've made this the most memorable Christmas we'll ever
have, and that's before they open a single box."
"Ye were so worried," Hudson said. "I wanted to help."
"Ooh, a jewelry-making kit!" Sarah, her mouth smeared with
chocolate, hugged the box to herself.
"A Playstation!" Josh cried rapturously. "And a bunch of
Bronx wallowed into a pile of discarded crumpled wrapping
paper and rolled on his back, feet waving in the air.
"I haven't seen them this happy in years." Maria looked
shiningly at Hudson. "Thank you so much!"
Puck snickered and pointed in their direction. The air above
them rippled, and then a cluster of mistletoe tied with a red ribbon was
suspended in midair. "Look where you're standing!"
Hudson glanced up, and his skin darkened a few shades. Maria
felt herself blushing as well. She was about to step away and laugh it off
when, catching her utterly by surprise, Hudson swept his arm around
her waist and pulled her close. She gasped at his easy strength, feeling
her feet leave the floor. His kiss was clumsy but sweet, his beard tickly.
Bronx bayed, the kids cheered, and Puck applauded, but
neither Maria not Hudson paid them any attention.
Finally he set her down, cleared his throat gruffly, and said,
"Merry Christmas, lass."
Part II -- in which Angela, Aiden, Brooklyn, and Lex go caroling --
and Part Three, in which Goliath and Elisa bring
Katherine and Tom to New York for a Christmas party at the castle --
can be found at http://www.eskimo.com/~vecna/gar_xmas.htm