Creative Writing / Bah-Humbug
AN : The prompt was 'Bah-Humbug'. That was it. So I revisited my favourite three Rhinde-verse characters, who you will know from 'The Dead Among Us'. I expanded what I'd written previously, so it's a little over 500 words.
Enjoy, and whether or not you celebrate Christmas and are therefore forced into paper crowns and absurd traditions, I hope you enjoy whatever other celebrating you're doing over the next few days.
"I don't want it."
"Of course it's stupid, it's Christmas."
"I don't want that thing on my head."
"Errol, just put the bloody hat on." Isabella implored from where she perched on the polished table where they were sat. He lounged back in his chair and didn't blink.
"Do I have to come over there myself," Asher drawled from the other end of the table, looking ridiculously suave in a red paper crown. Errol bit back his retort, swallowing the imaginative suggestion of what else Asher could do whilst he was 'over there'.
Isabella rolled her eyes. "Look," she said brightly, gesturing to her own head where a blue paper crown flopped depressingly, folding over itself in a sigh. "I'm wearing my one."
"Yes," Errol agreed, expression unchanging. "And you look like a right wanker."
She pursed her lips in irritation.
As she opened her mouth to try again, Asher put in, "Mutt, just wear the bloody crown or we'll never get through this evening."
For a long moment, Errol held Asher's gaze, grey eyes meeting onyx ones in contempt and something else, before he snatched the bright-yellow paper hat out of Isabella's hands.
"Finally," She muttered, leaning away from the table and going to sit back in her own seat. "So," she continued, smile returning. "We've got the hats, we're getting the food—"
"It better be fucking good after all this," Errol muttered, knowing full well that it would be; this was one of the best restaurants in all of the Acrean Empire as far as he was concerned. And he'd had several decades more than most to decide.
Isabella ignored his decidedly-anti-Christmas attitude and said, "Then we'll play a round of cards,"
"Which the leech will win," Errol put in sourly.
She smiled sweetly back, and concluded, "Then we'll get embarrassingly drunk and start a brawl. It's tradition."
Asher's lips curled up in amusement as he regarded the pretty, demon-hunting mortal in their midst, suddenly alight with the Christmas spirit. It was the same every year. "You seem to rather have the scope of it, Rhinde." He said, fingering his glass of mulled wine. To him, it didn't taste of much at all —like drinking water that had been left for a couple of weeks to contemplate the sour feeling of abandonment, though he'd been assured by the both of them that it tasted wonderful, and judging by the smells of the kitchen and the dinner that would soon be coming their way, he believed them. He'd eat only a few bites of the apparently delicious dishes -enough to make Isabella worry that he was going to poison himself with too much human food-, then he'd discreetly order a glass of warm lamb's blood from the restaurant's owner; the woman had quietly supplied for his... condition... since he, Errol and Issy had become regular patrons of the warm, little restaurant.
The restaurant was alive with candles and little lightning-powered lights (an expensive commodity that showed just how well the quiet, little Yoblosi restaurant was doing), conversation flickering around tables crammed with smiling people. Sprigs of holly glinted in the lights, nestled in the corners of the room, giving the space the sense of being in a nest. Carols carried through the door that opened and closed against the brisk winds as people shivered their way in, cheeks aglow, eyes searching for warmth and hot Yoblosi food, the window panes of the restaurant sparkling with frost.
Errol scowled through it all.
Despite his best efforts, Isabella and Asher would eventually manage to poke and pester him into conversation, and his brows would eventually ease half an inch away from his granite-grey eyes -the greatest show of affection that Errol Scott was capable of. Later that evening, Isabella would fall off of her chair after her fourth glass of whatever bizarre concoction she'd ordered from the extensive drinks menu and they would stumble out of the restaurant soon after, into the crisp city night, snow breathing down their necks, paper hats fixed crookedly on their crowns.
It was, after all, a Christmas tradition. And one didn't mess with tradition.