Hi everyone! Here's a Christmas special for my favored and dearest characters! I own everything in this story and I hereby dedicate this to my good friend, 2awesomeforyou, for supporting me and continuing to be a very good friend to me. Thank you so very much! Hope everyone enjoys and don't forget to review!
Gerald's First Christmas
The days of December in Faith Cove are like every single day in Faith Cove; sweet, warm, and sunny with slight chances of rain every few days to prevent droughts. Because of this, Christmas traditions in Faith Cove strongly differ from those in North America. After all; Faith Cove has trees but not pine trees and they sure don't have any snow! However, the story of Christmas, no matter whether one is religious or not, is always told the same way in Faith Cove; a way common in North America as well. It always tells of the baby Jesus Christ being born to the Virgin Mary as the son of God himself. That's what Christmas celebrates; the birth of the son of God.
Gerald is one in Faith Cove who has not been taught of the Christmas holiday, this being due to his mother always abusing him and keeping him locked away. She even sold him to an evil woman named Isis, who abused him for a while before sending him to a place that was rather similar to a prison. Renaia, as well as many other mages, broke in and rescued everyone there about a little less than a year ago; Renaia specifically there to save Gerald. Today, with a renewed life, he wakes up normally within the middle of December and proceeds to yawn briefly. He then rises and dresses in jeans and a shirt before heading from his room to find Renaia. Gerald doesn't go far, before finding his beautiful Breaking Mage girlfriend standing in the living, happily humming to herself. Her dress makes his breath catch at its beauty; it's a long, silken, flowing dress colored in white with every hem of the dress and it's short, flowing sleeves sparkling in gold colored silk. A long, beautiful piece of silver and gold silk is carefully woven in her arms; going over one arm, behind her back, and over the other arm. Long maroon hair pours down her back and pink eyes shimmer brightly from her smiling, milky white skinned face.
Renaia is what's known to Faith Cove as a Breaking Mage, which means she can't limit the output of her magic energy. It causes exhaustion and can even paralyze the mage temporarily which leaves them susceptible to attacks. Special limiters are created to fix this problem, but none could fix Renaia since she's simply too strong for any of the manmade limiters. Her doctor then told her of Gerald, the only human limiter in the world and the only one strong enough to limit her. She rescued him from a place called Safely Enclosed, an old abandoned asylum in Rosette where many with strange powers unlike mages were once kept as to prevent danger or calamity. With that, Gerald went with Renaia…beginning their partnership, which has become so much more. Rarely apart as of late nowadays, they couldn't enjoy a single moment very easily without one another.
As she always does, Renaia notices Gerald before she even looks up to see he's there.
"Morning Gerald!" she cheers, in her high, sweet voice.
Gerald stands blankly for a moment, wondering what Renaia is doing as she sets up a small scene with several small figurines on a small table he has never seen before.
"Morning…um…Renaia? What are you doing?"
"Setting up my manger scene for Christmas."
A terribly sad frown comes over Renaia's face and her eyes shook with tears as realization dawns on her. He feels a painful pang at his heart; her sadness nearly shattering his heart.
"Gerald…don't tell me…"
Renaia trails and sighs. She picks up another figurine and sets it where it belongs before wiping tears from her eyes.
"May God forgive your mother as I, despite myself, never will. Gerald, Christmas is a beautiful holiday on the twenty-fifth day of this month which is the month of December. It celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, son of God, to the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph at a manger. It's….really heartbreaking that the son of God would have to be born in barn…but he, as it is written, was a quiet and happy baby. He didn't cry, even though it was so very cold. As the savior of humanity, giving his life for our sins later in his life, we celebrate the day of his birth in the holiday of Christmas."
"Ahh, I think I understand….somewhat at the least," Gerald replies.
Renaia smiles, "The story is wonderful, better than I can explain it. The Christmas spirit is one thing though that I always have enough of, so I'll make sure this is the best Christmas I can possibly do for your very first."
"You don't have too…Renaia I-!"
"Gerald, the holidays in Faith Cove are essential to one's sense of being. I have to make your first one a very good one. Every person deserves the wonders of the holidays; especially you. Christmas is a holiday of love, joy, giving, and peace."
Gerald sighs, yet he can't help but smile slightly as he realizes Renaia isn't changing her mind and something in him doesn't have the heart to budge her on it.
"I'll have to get the special Christmas tree today. Here in Faith Cove, our tree is called a Soulful Angel Tree, although in other places it's commonly a Pine Tree. However, those don't grow here so we have our own tree. While I do that, I'll leave you with Hikari and Chris so that they can tell you a little more about Christmas."
"Um…okay," Gerald was surprised, since Renaia didn't generally leave him with Hikari and Chris, much less anyone else anyway.
She looked up, smiling gently, "Is something wrong?"
"No, not at all. Sorry, I'm being hit with a lot for it being the morning and all."
"Oh! I'm so sorry! I should have offered breakfast first!" yelps Renaia.
Hastily, she sets the last piece of the manger scene and rushes into the kitchen, practically leaving a trail of fire in her wake. Gerald sighs, knowing Renaia just took that completely wrong. He didn't mean for her to go fly off into the kitchen. Shaking his head, he walks to where Renaia has set the beautiful manger scene upon a silver table and a golden fleece blanket. A little baby lay on a pile of hay…surrounded by so many people. Only two people sit by him, a woman in blue and a man in red while others stand by him and animals watch him. Two tall angels stand on either side of the building in which he is set, a barn or manger, whichever is preferred. It seems so…happy and yet so…unreal. Why did that child have to be born…in a barn of all places? Gerald, since he had been sort of loved up until he was three, had been born to a hospital as far as he could recall his father's conversation with some person once. He wasn't sure now that he really thought about it. He stares for a moment, at the quietly resting baby in the serene scene before breathing in softly as he closed his eyes. What does Renaia call this…praying isn't it?
'I know I don't pray…or whatever it's called…at all really but… Just, keep Renaia in your thoughts…and let her know that she already does so much for me…so much that I do not deserve her presence at all. And yet, she graces me with it every day… Tell her, since I don't seem to be making it through…that all I'll ever need is for her to just stick with doing what she already does so well. Thank you…Jesus? That's your name isn't it? I'm sorry! I'm so bad at this but…please, just hear me…if only this once.'
When he opens his eyes, Renaia is standing by him, watching him carefully as she holds two plates of pancakes in her hand.
"Oh!" Gerald yelps, jumping back from the manger as Renaia proceeds to accidentally startle him.
"Gerald, I'm sorry! You okay?" she bites her lip in worry.
"Y-yeah. I'm fine. Thanks Renaia," he sighs, accepting his plate from her.
"Okay, good. Were you…praying just now?"
She's surprised, quite sure she's never seen Gerald pray before.
"Actually, surprisingly, I was," Gerald laughs at the obviousness of his action.
Renaia smiles, "That's good. I hope it comes true for you."
Gerald nods before taking a seat next to Renaia on the couch to eat.
'I hope so too…' he thinks to himself.
Within the hour, Gerald is in Hikari and Chris' living room, watching both argue again yet playfully this time.
"She already told him the story of Jesus!"
"Well then, shouldn't we talk about the spirit of it?"
"Moron! Did you listen to Renaia at all? She already beat us to that part of it too!"
"We also need to mention presents so he can get one for Renaia…"
"Ow! You didn't have to break my eardrum…"
"Agh, Chris, I love you, but why must you complain now of all times?"
"Because it makes you a very Christmassy red, my love."
"Ugh, Chris! Not the time for that!"
Gerald stares at the two before shaking his head and looking around. He sees another manger scene and several colorful foil string things hanging beautifully on the walls.
"Um guys, what are those?" he inquires, pointing at the foil things.
Hikari turns and then giggles, "Those are garland strings Gerald. It's a very common decoration around the world. Want to see one that's all Faith Cove?"
Hikari and Chris lead him into their hallway, colored in silver for its usual everyday self. However, as decoration for the holiday, long strings of several different flowers run on either side of the hall. In a pattern, between a set number of flowers, a silver, red, or green jewel dangles from a thin pink ribbon.
"Whoa, that's nice…"
"Isn't it? That's all Faith Cove's ideal there. No other place does this decoration. They go on the tree, which Renaia is getting, too."
"Didn't you get one?"
"Yup, but Renaia would rather you see it when you help her decorate it tonight."
"Oh…wait, decorate it?"
Hikari facepalms, "God, so help me not go find and murder your godforsaken mother!" she screams, whirling and punching the wall harshly.
"Okay, okay Hikari. Honey, go settle down. I'll handle Gerald before you kill someone…or break something…"
"Th…thank you Chris."
"Not a problem," Chris sighs as Hikari runs to the kitchen, heaving heavy breaths.
He leads Gerald into the living room and out to the front porch before walking down to a side by a cherry wood rocking chair. Above this area hangs a large, beautiful pink flower. It's bound, by a silver twisting vine, to a red flower. Both flowers have hearts for petals and the centers both have small silver strands growing from them.
"What's that?" Gerald inquires.
"This, Gerald, is Faith Cove's equal to what other Christmas traditions know as the mistletoe. Ours is simply known as the Joy and Love Flower though. It's said that couples who kiss under it during the holiday season shall be together and happy forever."
"Ohh, I see," Gerald replies, reddening now in the face and making Chris laugh.
Renaia sighs sadly as she makes the walk to Rosette. It's not a needed walk, since there is a tree store in Cherished Valley. However, Renaia has to make this trip in order to make something special of Gerald's first holiday. She can't fly this trip though, both because she is without Gerald and because of the heat that Faith Cove's weather never fails to produce.
"Christmas isn't the only one Gerald," Renaia sighs to herself, "-there's so many others too. If your mother hadn't been such a witch-!"
She stops for a moment, cursing herself for her temporary wrath and suddenly realizing that perhaps…if Gerald hadn't gone through what he did…maybe they would have never met. Maybe she would have…passed away without any way to be limited. It would have all been over for her… And yet she finds…that she would have traded her life if he had been able to live a normal one.
"Oh God…was Gerald born to be broken down…because you knew I'd need him? That's so...that's not…ohh God, that's so not right!" cries Renaia suddenly.
"Renaia?" calls a voice.
She looks up, through her tears, to find Tokoro walking towards her; the very person she had been off to visit anyway.
"Oh-oh…hey Tokoro…I was coming to see you…"
"Okay, why are you crying then? And where's Gerald at?"
"Gerald is…learning about Christmas…with Hikari and Chris. I just realized that…if he hadn't suffered the way he did, I would have never met him. And that just made me feel terrible, because maybe if I didn't exist, God would have given him a normal life instead! I'd rather let him have a normal life instead," Renaia sobs, sinking to her knees suddenly.
"Renaia, that's so not true and, forgive me for saying this, it's stupid too!" Tokoro cries, kneeling down and gripping her shoulders, "Gerald would agree with me too, I know he would! He loves you so much! I see it every single time he talks about you, the way life comes into eyes that I can only remember being so pained before he met you! It doesn't matter why you were born or why he was born, it matters only that fate still put you together and you shouldn't regret being born because of that! Don't you love him too?"
"Of course I do, with every ounce of my heart and being Tokoro."
"Then stop thinking things like that. Sheesh, never thought you would ever say something like that. Do you realize that as he learns about Christmas, the one thing he'll be most joyful about is the fact that you are by his side always doing things with him and for him without hurting him? No one else but me has ever done that for him! You're the only one Renaia and, no matter what gift you give him, you'll always be the gift he'll always be most thankful for!"
Renaia gasps, her hands flying straight to her heart as she realizes just how much an idiot she has just been for this entire day.
"You don't have too…Renaia I-!"
He hadn't been confused much, maybe a little, but the real thing was that, for once in their time together, she wasn't hearing him! He had been trying to get across exactly what Tokoro had just told her…in his own way of course but still yet…
"Oh no…I feel so…"
"It's alright Renaia, you were in your personality as usual. Your selfless self, as you always are; just willing to put so much of yourself out there. Now come on, what can I do to help you?"
"I need to know Gerald's birthday. That's all I need from you and I have the rest of this in the bag!"
"His birthday? Ah, I see now. Renaia, he took the birthday of February twelfth. More specifically, at ten thirty in the morning."
Renaia gasps again, "February twelfth…at ten thirty…in the morning?"
"I was born…exactly one single minute before he was."
Tokoro's mouth falls open in complete shock before he laughs for a moment, "God really had you two planned out from the start. I only remember because I have a photographic memory on numbers, so…that wasn't hard for me, even when I was only two. Plus our dad used to talk about it sometimes…"
"Ah, I see. Good, see you later Tokoro! Thank you so much!" calls Renaia as she turns and runs on back to Cherished Valley.
"Bye Renaia, merry Christmas! And tell Gerald that for me too!"
Soon enough, Renaia is back at Hikari and Chris' doorstep to pick up Gerald empty-handed.
"Where's the tree and stuff Renaia?" asks Hikari as she and Chris walk Gerald to the door.
"Home of course. I brought something else…secret…so I wanted to go drop everything at home before I came to pick Gerald back up."
"Secret?" inquires Gerald.
"Hang on Renaia," laughs Hikari.
"We have one more thing to teach Gerald before we hand him over," continues Chris
"Oh, okay. No problem."
Hikari and Chris leave the door open before leading Gerald back off into the house.
"Gerald, Renaia is likely saying that she brought you a gift for Christmas," Hikari tells him.
"Yes, people give one another things for Christmas. She's likely got you something, so we need to see what you could possibly give her…" Chris thinks aloud.
"But…she's already given me so much…"
"Huh?" asks Hikari.
"She…she's always right there…for me, every single day. I don't need anything else from her than that."
"Well, obviously Renaia didn't catch that. Some people get blinded in the spirit of the holidays. Just show her a little love and give her something special anyway while accepting whatever she's got for you with an open mind. It doesn't even have to be material; it can be as simple as spending the entire day with her and helping her with anything she needs to get done or even writing a nice song for her," explains Hikari.
"Oh, I see."
"But whatever you do, it has to be secret! She can't know until Christmas Day when you give it to her!" exclaims Chris.
"Ah…okay…I'll…figure it out somehow."
"Good. Be on your way then; Renaia might be getting fried out there. It's a hot day today."
"Oh! No, that's not good!" yelps Gerald, quickly running from Hikari and Chris and darting out the silver door of the house.
"Ack! Are you alright? You were running awful fast; did Hikari get angry or something?" asks Renaia in concern.
"No, they reminded me that you were standing out here in the heat. Come on, let's get home."
Renaia chuckles slightly before walking home alongside her dearest limiter, sighing calmly as she leans against him. As they walk inside, Gerald immediately sees a large tree sitting in the corner of the living room, where not much else usually stands. Every single branch of the tree looks to shape out into angel wings while the center of the tree looks to be a dress, like a body and the top turns into the head. The top doesn't end in a point, but rather a rounded tip and very thick, leaving almost like a real, full sized angel. The soft, silky leaves are colored white and pink, forming her beautiful wings and her dress.
"That's so…amazing…a tree that looks like a real angel."
Renaia laughs, "How do you know about angels Gerald?"
"Tokoro taught me about them once. And then…one day…I believe wholeheartedly that I saw one. I see her every day now too, ever since then."
"What does she look like? Has she ever said anything?"
"Let's see…snowy white skin, maroon hair, pink eyes, and she says so many things that I could never repeat them all," Gerald laughs as Renaia blushes pink.
"Aw Gerald, I'm no angel."
"To me, you are."
Renaia blushes a deeper pink before gently pressing her lips to Gerald's.
"I'm glad to be one for you."
Gerald chuckles to hide his shy point of blushing to death at this rate. Smiling all the while, Renaia picks up a cardboard box from the stack on the chair.
"Alright, first we cover the angel in bright lights so she can shine, then we place her face, add her halo, add some garlands, some flower strings, and then comes some ornaments to make her special."
"Alright, let's do this then!"
In minutes, they have a beautiful angel with a special silk ornament for her face; blue eyes and golden hair with a bright halo. Decorations make the Soulful Angel Tree sparkle and Renaia smiles joyfully as she takes a photo of Gerald standing next to the tree; at her request of him for reasons unbeknownst to him thus far. Of course, he'd know soon enough.
Christmas morning dawns on its appointed day as Gerald awakens as he does every day. Concern hits his mind as he recalls that he actually went to bed before Renaia for once, as she was still awake in her room while working on something that she wouldn't talk about. He also gets to sing his song for her today. He hops up, to find a folded, short sleeved shirt on his dresser. It's colored in silver, with an image of a Soulful Angel Tree sewn on it with the words 'Merry Christmas, may the seasons bring you joy!' Smiling to himself, he puts it on along with a pair of jeans before brushing his hair and heading out into the hallway. He finds his love and joy walking out of her room, a smile on no less. The same dress of a few weeks ago, colored in white with every hem of the dress and it's short, flowing sleeves sparkling in gold colored silk. Not to mention the long, beautiful piece of silver and gold silk carefully woven along her arms. However, over it, she has a silky short sleeved silver shirt like Gerald's; only with an angel sewn into it and the words 'The angels of Christmas are always gracing you with love!'
"Oh good morning Gerald; merry Christmas today! Yay, you found your shirt too! Perfect, I sized it correctly too," she sighs in relief.
"You made this?"
"Sort of. Hikari helped me sew everything, but I designed both shirts."
"Awesome. I have a present for you too," he says, ducking back into his room and grabbing his guitar.
Heading back out, he finds Renaia coming back out of her room with one more think, a square covered in colorful paper.
"Ohh Gerald, you wrote a song? I can't wait to hear it," Renaia cheers happily, practically skipping down the hallway as Gerald followed her, blushing heavily.
"It was the best thing I could come up with."
"And it's perfect too," sighs Renaia lovingly.
Gerald smiles as Renaia settles on the couch while he sets up his guitar. Strumming it lightly, he takes a soft breath before letting it all flow into place.
"Heaven isn't far away from me,
No, it truly isn't.
Not when I already have an angel, standing by my side.
Every single day, as you stand by my side,
I'm reminded of this true and beautiful fact."
Renaia blushes her deep pink and Gerald just smiles at her all the while, strumming more notes.
"I'd lie awake in the evening light
Just to be able to watch you breathe
To remind me that you're still right there
Right there, by my side, to hold me where it all goes wrong.
Oh-oh, heaven isn't far away; I still have you."
His heart jumps heavily and Gerald takes a deep breath to calm his nerves. This is pretty much his first time singing for anyone anyway, besides a tiny song he did with Renaia in the kitchen once. Renaia smiles all the while, practically cheering him on as best as she can. Her eyes shine of love and her smile sings of joy. Nerves only slightly calm, Gerald breathes in again and keeps at it; knowing it'll be alright.
"Every smile you smile
Is a gift to my very soul
And every time you laugh
It's a perfect melody
Your shimmering eyes
Are comforts I look forward to every single morning
The minutes by your side
Are like the greatest moments in my life
Whether they are of tears or of joy
I go through each one
Just because I'm by you."
She wipes her eyes carefully as Gerald takes a breath with a short solo, his eyes closed in a sort of serene peace.
"I couldn't leave your side
Even if I ever would try
The thought rips me apart
Remember this, my dearest love
My precious angel
Because you have to know
That you are the only gift I'll ever need."
He opens his eyes, just to give her a meaningful smile as what Tokoro said rings in her head.
'Do you realize that as he learns about Christmas, the one thing he'll be most joyful about is the fact that you are by his side always doing things with him and for him without hurting him? No one else but me has ever done that for him! You're the only one Renaia and, no matter what gift you give him, you'll always be the gift he'll always be most thankful for!'
She wipes her tearful eyes again, joy overflowing from her golden heart that's just dying to burst out with a giant hug and kiss for Gerald.
"There's nothing that gives me any greater joy
No one else that shows me more love
No other place to get greater attention
And certainly no one I would rather be in company of
I'm already in heaven, every second I spend by you."
Smiling at her, Gerald strums the final sting of chords before, seeing that Renaia is bursting with a hug, setting the guitar down and accepting her as she flies into his arms crying tears of joy. She pulls back slightly to rest her lips against his, to which Gerald respond by pressing back too.
"Remember Renaia? Before you, I couldn't really converse. I couldn't come up and sing straight out…and if it wasn't just you, I probably still couldn't have. Before you, I looked no one in the eyes and you had to even fight to get me to look at you; the one I can barely take my eyes off of to go to bed at night now. That's how you truly know you love someone; you can't sleep because reality is finally better than dreams. And now you've shown me Christmas. These are all your achievements Renaia and there's still more I could list off. You are my gift, the best thing in this life I live. Do you understand that?" he asks her softly, holding her against him safely, her head over his heart.
"I understand Gerald…I really do…I love you so much, you know that, right?"
"Always. I always will."
"One more thing though," she says, walking over and handing him the package she had from the couch, "-here; I think you'll really enjoy this one."
He carefully opens it, peeling it away to find a baby blue and silver binder loaded with colored paper. On the front, in purple marker, it said 'The Things I Will Show You and A Place to Store it All. With Love, From Renaia.'
Slowly, intrigued, he opens it to find a pink and silver sheet in there first. He sees a photo of her alongside a pink card. On it, written in silver pen, it reads 'Renaia Sage. Birthday: February 12, 2184; 10:29 A.M..' Below hers, a photo of Gerald stands next to a card like Renaia's, one that reads 'Gerald Tomlinson. Birthday: February 12, 2184; 10:30 A.M..' Quickly understanding, Gerald gives a light gasp.
"We're…exactly one minute apart?"
"Yeah, I just found that out from your brother on the same day you first heard the word Christmas."
"Oh wow…Renaia, I didn't even remember what day my birthday was… I hadn't…celebrated it…in so very long…if I ever did to be honest… This is…already so amazing. To think, if the words didn't already make it obvious, I would have had to ask what a birthday was."
Renaia smiles sadly at this before urging him to flip the page. Flipping it, he sees a page for Christmas. Colored gold and red, with many photos; he sees the photo of him by their tree and a photo she took of him helping her make chocolate cookies for Christmas. A photo of their Christmas shirts…a picture of Gerald accidentally wrapping his hand in gift paper when they were wrapping presents at Hikari's…a photo of Gerald by the manger scene…and a picture Hikari stole of them as the pair shared a kiss under the Joy and Love flower dangling from Renaia's own kitchen ceiling. At the top of the page, it reads 'First Christmas Joys.' On the other side, on the back of the first page with the birthdays, Renaia has handwritten out the Christmas Story and what the holiday is all about just for Gerald's reference. Immediately, emotional now, Gerald's eyes gather joyful tears and he closes the book, walking forward to embrace his angel and his beloved mage.
"There are so many more holidays Gerald and several recreational things. I swear, I will show you as many as I possibly can. And for every single one, I will help you fill out more in that book."
"I think…this is the one I'll always remember the most."
"Me too…but, you never know."
He nods, holding his head on her shoulder and softly pressing his lips to her cheek; way too overjoyed to release her from his grasp. As if Renaia would ever truly want him to let go anyway…
"Forever and always."