Christmas Elsewhere

Aeyna T'Rea

It has been a few years now since Aeyna first heard about the annual human holiday. She was sold on it right away when it was introduced to her by her closest friend Marit, whose human father had observed it every year since Marit was very little. They have not yet had any snow on that day, and families celebrating it here all had their own opinions on when to push the day to keep it to a day free of school or other obligations.

Advent has been fairly short this year, and her and Marit only really started counting down 10 days ago. The tree downstairs is decorated, gingerbread has been made and sampled, gifts has been thoroughly inspected, and the human channels had provided cartoons aplenty. There has also been talk of a trip north for human new years where there is snow, but she was unsure about the plans for that yet.

This year still has not been the same. Renala went back to Aite before their advent even began, and made it clear early on that she would not be here today. That had caused a sour undertone to the whole holiday, but it was not until today that it finally hit home.

Aeyna woke up as the light of the sun peeked through the crack in her window blinds. She knew Nalena would be mad if she set an early alarm, she had done that on her first Christmas, so betting on the sun was the next best thing. It was tradition at this point, but unlike earlier years she rolled over to the other side again. A small part of her had held out hope that Renala would come home, but she could only hear the sounds Nalena starting the day below.

She closed her eyes again, and did her best to muffle her sobs so Nalena would not hear. This was her fault, she threw Renala out.


She awoke to the sound of her door sliding open and excited footfalls that came to an abrupt stop inside of her room.

"Aeyna?" It was Marit's voice. She was not supposed to be here until eight, which must mean that Aeyna fell back asleep. "It's Christmas!" Marit pulled away the blanket and grabbed Aeyna's arm.

"I'm awake," she groaned and pulled back her arm.

"You okay?" she asked, sitting down down at the bedside.

Only a curt hum was all she got in response.

"Aw, come on," she grabbed her arm again. "She was visiting just a few weeks ago. She even got you a present."

"It's not the same."

"It's still better than sleeping the day away," she said, without letting go of her arm. "I'm going to sit like this until you get out of bed."

"Just five more minutes," Aeyna mumbled.

"I'll think about it," she said and is quiet in a moment of mock contemplation. "Hmm. No. You don't get five minutes."

"Please," she mumbled.

"Nope," she said. "I give you to the count of ten, or I'll drag you down to the breakfast table by the tippy-tips of your scalp."

Aeyna sighed.

"One!"

"Two!"

"Three!"

Aeyna sat up in bed, and turned around to place her feet on the floor.

"See? Was that so hard?" Marit said.

"Can you just... stop?" Aeyna snapped. "I'm up."

"You can't let Renala get you down like that," she said. "She got you a present, and she'll no doubt call you. She wants to make the best of it, so stop moping."

Aeyna gave her a gentle shove. "I'll be down in a minute, okay?" she said. "Can you go ahead?" Aeyna sounded angry.

Marit rose from the bed, but she did not leave the room. Instead she turned around. "No," she said, crossing her arms over her chest. "The moment that door shuts, you'll be bundled up in your blanket again. I just know it."

"I won't, so get out," she said, a biotic shimmer forming around her whole being. Both of them knew that it would at best unbalance her, but it was the thought that counted.

"Aeyna," Marit snapped. "I get it. I wish Ren was here too. Sitting up late playing with our new toys and games, and making Nalena to carry us all three to bed?" Her expression softened and a smile showed up. "That's what's Christmas Eve is all about, but... we can still have fun, okay? Maybe we can keep Erik up for a change."

Aeyna let the energy out, a wild uncontrolled burst that threw a pyjack plushie off the bed and pushed her omni-tool off the nightstand. She did not say anything, instead tears started trickling down her cheeks followed by loud sobs. Marit was quick to pull her up from the bed and wrap her up in a hug.

This was not the first time they have fought and then hugged it out after Renala moved out, and far from the worst it had gotten. Marit seemed to be getting used to it at this point, hardly flinching when biotics are brought to bear.