Love Is My Weapon

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Vignettes: Operation Bethlehem, Part IV (Conclusion)

I'm not going to make it.
I can't move anything. Pure white crystal is crusting over the ANIMa, crackling frost against the blackness of space and the white of the Earth miles below. I lost the wings minutes ago, Doc K's gift to me of flight and power falling away in shards of betrayed trust. I'm afraid to even try calling on most of the others - weapons won't help me now, and honestly I'm not sure how strong most of those bonds are after the beating Operation Walleye put on all of us. It's me and Dean and his "big brother" Andy, rising on pure willpower now, encased in ice. That's going to be a hell of a fall when the rockets give out.

The Nightmares aren't even a worry now. I left them far below me, and they're circling nervously - either waiting to pick up the pieces when I fall, or wondering what the hell this crazy Earth kid is up to. I thought I knew, but now I'm just trying to live.

Every so often I get a fragment from the outside - a few distorted words from the speaker coming through into my dream. But really, Dean and I can't get through to each other. I'm talking to him anyhow, though - or maybe just to myself, trying to convince myself that there's a hope in hell I'm coming back from this.

"I'm sorry I got you into this, Dean. You're so sweet, and I took advantage of you, and you were right. We shouldn't have done this. Are you... crying? I thought I heard something on the comm there. Don't cry, Dean. It's my fault, not yours."

"It's really beautiful up here, you know. So dark and quiet, just the moonlight and the snowy Earth and the white clouds. Silent Night, Holy Night.... God, if you're still out there, I did my best. We all did. We tried to be good kids. I miss my mom and dad. And Rainy, and 'nita, and Luis, and Paul'n'Amy... and... everyone who didn't make it this far."

"I had a plan. I was going to show all the kids out there that help was on the way. But I can't do anything without Dean. And the ice is so thick now."

"Dean, if you can hear me, I wish I'd gotten to spend Christmas with you. We'd sing carols, and eat too many of Maddie's cookies, and play in the snow. And I'd probably let you kiss me.... I'm glad you can't hear me!"

I probably would, though. He's so sweet. The rockets are failing. Soon, the long fall will start, and either the Nightmares circling down there will get me, or gravity will. Merry Christmas, world. I wish you'd seen my star.

The speaker sputters again. Oh God, did he hear that?!? "...Christmas present, Jaye."

"DEAN? Dean, can you hear me? I'm falling. Going down. Don't be sad, sweetie... sing to me. Like we used to."

I start up, my voice cracking at first, but the old familiar words seem to take all the worry and fear away.

"The first Noel, the Angels did say
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay.
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!"

The link is still fading in and out. But I can hear poor Dean, voice all warbly with tears, trying to join in on the chorus. I feel the ANIMa shudder. The ice crackles. It sounds like bells.

"They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!"

I've stopped tumbling. I can see the whole Earth drifting by below me. It seems like I can hear voices, too. More than just Dean. A choir of children, all over the world under me. Hoping for Christmas. It's time.

"Dean... patch in the Materializer."

"Jaye? Your signal's 70%. I'm pulling you out."

"No, Dean. We have a mission. It's almost midnight. Time to shine. Patch it in."


"It's my Christmas present, Dean. Sing another one with me, and let's show the world our light."

"Oh... kay. Can we do... that one we did together last year. From the old movie? I've practiced a little since then..."

I feel my face warm. But somehow.... yeah. Okay. Let's.

"You start, Dean."

I feel the Materializer warming up. It doesn't have a bond any more. Anita was the Materializer when I first tried it. I don't know what - or who - to use at first. I'm trying to think of someone who feels like life, and light, and being real. And still trusts me.

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight"

My turn. I still haven't got someone in mind, but for some reason, the big gauge on my control panel is glowing brighter and brighter. Who is that?

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away."

It's ready. I imagine my message. It's not going to be easy - the biggest thing I ever pushed out of this world into the regular world was a Nightmare machine the size of a car. But making it on this side... that's a piece of cake. A new star lights in the heavens as I drift down towards the Nightmares. They recoil and flee into the night, like the cowards they are.

Now we both sing together. Thank you, Dean. I'm coming back if I can. And you better watch out for mistletoe.

"Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more."

Now to push it through. This is the hard part. But I think I know who the Materializer is. I can hear them singing along with us, all over the world. Mom & Dad. Rainy, all of them. Everyone who's left us. Somehow, tonight, for this, they're with me. It's going to work. Thank you, God.

"Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now."

Time to go home. I let go of my dream, give it to all those kids out there, and fall back into my body.


A new star shines in the night. And all over the world, under that star, children hear songs of hope.

Resolved: We can help other children. Everywhere.

Merry Christmas, readers. Peace on Earth, and good will to all.


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