'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The flerkin was curled up at the foot of the bed,
Where our heroine sat petting him, lamenting instead.
Monica was nestled all snug in her bed,
While visions of candy canes danced in her head;
Carol stared out the window up at the stars,
Remembering her journeys from both near and afar.
She remembered gold eyes and a reluctant smile,
Which belonged to a man she had missed for a while.
With a large sigh she dragged Goose to her lap,
And settled down for a long winter's nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
She sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The sky all around her lit by an engine's glow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a Kree light freighter, one which she had not seen in years,
She watched as the ship landed near by,
She quickly glanced up to check in the sky;
It was alone, no other ships where around,
She began then to wonder how she had been found.
The gangplank descended, and who should appear;
The man she had dreamed of was suddenly here,
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked just like a Kree santa there with his pack.
She ran out the room, and jumped down the stairs,
She burst onto the porch to make sure he was there.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose red like a cherry!
His mouth quirked at her then drew up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was all covered in snow;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Depositing ice blocks, and snow, and ... perimeter gravity isolators?
"What are you doing?" She demanded, confused at his appearance.
He did not pause from his task, but continued to place the contents of the freighter around Maria's lawn.
"From what I have read about your Terran culture, tomorrow is supposed to be a holiday you spend with your loved ones. You exchange gifts, and small children, like the one you live with, play in the snow and be ' merry ', whatever that means. As you live in an area where snow does not naturally occur, I thought I would oblige. Consider this as my present."
"Your present will melt soon after dawn." She admonished him, arms crossed over her chest. He walked past her and embedded the isolators in the lawn.
"Its snow from prolaxion-5, it has a higher melting temperature than the water-based snow on this planet, so it should last for a few days. The isolators around the perimeter will enable a snowing effect, without the ice actually entering the atmosphere." He explained pointed to the circle he had created.
"So like a snow globe?" She lowered her arms, inspecting his work. It was a very magical and thoughtful gift.
"Essentially" he nodded, agreeing with her reference. He must have done some research to know what she meant. He went to the sack he carried, and removed oversized candy canes and a few other decorations.
"But why? Why do you suddenly care about some stupid Terran tradition?" She asked him, still unsure as to why he was here.
That caused him to stop in his tracks. He turned to her, walking to her to close the distance between them. He walked as close as she was comfortable with, after a few feet apart she held up her hand to stop him.
"Christmas is supposed to be the time where you are with the people you love, the people you call family, or at the very least people who you care for.
To me, you are that person. You always have been. I lied to you, not to use you, but to keep you. It wasn't all lies, most of it was real. But that first lie, and every other lie I had to place on top to support it, to keep you, only hurt you. For that I am truly sorry." He stepped closer, pushing her limits, he risked being shot or blasted, but he didn't care.
"Consider this the first of many apologies I owe you. The first of many I intend to make up for, however and where ever you want me to."
She considered him, his gold eyes beseeched her, she saw his hands flex into fists, as he tried to school himself not to touch her.
"Why should I believe you? How do I know this isn't a ploy to get me back to the Intelligence for reprogramming or whatever?"
He turned his head, and she noticed a nasty puffy wound, blooming out from behind his ear. His command bio-chip looked like it had been removed, painfully. Every Kree commander was implanted with one when they reached the rank, it was a subdermal tracker and emergency beacon. It could also allow the SI to upload the contents of their brainstem in the situation they lost their life. To have it removed in such a way was as clear a sign as any of his dishonorable discharge from Starforce.
She stepped forward, and ran her fingers gently over the scarring skin. His hand came up and caught her wrist. He turned his head and placed a kiss on her skin above where his fingers gripped. He took a deep breath and looked into her eyes.
"The best gift at Christmas is easy to see, Its not wrapped in paper or under the tree..."
She snorted shocking him to a halt. "What are you doing now?!" She managed through barely contained laughter.
"I'm trying to rhyme, is that also not essential to this tradition?" He asked, uncertain if he was doing this right, based on her reaction he guessed not.
She giggled at him, she then took him by the face and kissed him.
She broke away and whispered for him "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."