Wow. Flashback.

I was trawling through old SC stories and came across the first Subreality story either I or my partner-in-crime ever published. It was called something along the lines of "SC: Crossovers Of A Random Nature" and it was actually, originally, written as part of a horrifyingly long Reboot fic series called the Twilight Arc (which has long since, I'm afraid, vanished into oblivion), which, as per its summary, explored everything from "Mouse's origins and how she knows Bob to why Ray wears glasses." It did, too. Good old days... ;) It (the fic, not the arc) was posted on the SC Central website somewhat before I fully comprehended the Subreality concept, and quite a bit before either Lise or myself were really a part of the phenomenon.

Anyway, I realized that among surely a billion others, over the course of said arc, we'd somehow left a particularly unfortunate loose end. A confusing one.

So here's me tying knots. Call it nostalgia, brought on by the recent re-release of new Reboot eps. Yes, I'm still extremely excited about that. :)

And this is my Christmas contribution to the fic-pool. :D

Summary: A loyal dog is man's -- and Sprite's -- best friend.


The Cafe was crowded tonight, as it always was the night before Writers' Night. All of the fictives wanted to get in a last drink before the Writers came in and started merrilly buggering with space and time. As a result, almost every fictive who could get in was in and were respectively eating, drinking, laughing, and, in some cases, brawling, with vigour.

Another possible explanation for the crowd was that it was recently December. The Cafe's walls were festooned with various sparkly decorations and blinking lights, and a huge, live pine grew out of the floor in a corner specially-written for the occasion. It was X-Mas time in Subreality. A selection from "Superman Sings The Holiday Hits" was playing softly in the background. At the moment, "Jingle Bells" chimed pleasantly from several speakers set at strategic intervals along the join between wall and ceiling.

It was a cheery atmosphere, all in all, everyone taking pleasure in each other's company (even those who were busy bashing one another's heads over the bar). For soon, the Writers would be on vacation, and therefore, so would they.

Well; with the exception of those Writers who liked to use Christmas as an angsty plot device. Everyone dreaded the inevitable X-Mas fic wherein the X-Men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four or some other unfortunate group were summarily slaughtered on Christmas Eve. Or something. But Christmas Angst was like the tides -- inevitable, unstoppable, and in Subreality, weird.

There were very few empty tables -- but one of the few was in a far, and predictably shadowed corner, right next to a large table full of the more rambunctious Marvel fictives, half of whom were trying to convince the other half that the secular reference to Christmas as "X-Mas" was just another example of how the insidious X-symbol had taken over everything. The latter half of the table was torn between agreeing with pride and accusing their rivals of jealousy, and disagreeing with some mild worry that this was, indeed, the case.

In all the pre-holiday excitement, no one in the cafe noticed the empty, shadowed corner-table. Rather, their eyes seemed to slide over it as if it weren't there. The reasons for this were really quite easy to determine, were one to go far back enough into Subreality history. A long time back, something had been left behind -- and lying under the table, it had earned the healthy fear of anyone who came into the Cafe. It simply laid under its table, being quietly miserable, yet not leaving and no longer attacking random fictives, at least. The Bouncer even left a dish of water under the edge of the table, now and then, although he wasn't sure that it was really necessary.

The dog, for the hundredth time that night, rearranged his head on his folded front paws, and stared dolefully out at the Cafe patronage from under the shadow of the table. He growled only half-heartedly at a set of ankles that accidentally danced too close.

He was a good dog. And he wasn't supposed to disembowel anyone without his Master's say-so. Or his Mistress. He just...wasn't. But he was lonely -- had they forgotten him? The pirate had long-since gone, off to explore the Edge of Beyond once more, believing that the dog would be all right, alone. The dog had thought he would be. He had been here before, long, long ago, when his Master and the Other One had brought him. He had thought that if he waited long enough, they would come looking. That He would come looking, and he wouldn't be alone anymore.

He missed Him. He missed Her.

The dog, sighed, as much as a dog can sigh, and closed his eyes.

Someone entered the Cafe. It was unlikely that anyone noticed her, ducking under the Bouncer's arm -- he was in a good mood tonight, as very few Writers had tried to sneak past him and the ones that had were behaving themselves, not to mention passing him cartons of eggnog on the way in. He was currently engaged in singing a rousing chorus of "Deck The Halls" with a set of Movieverse X-kids clustered next to the entrance.

The mysterious stranger hardly seemed to fit her role -- she was dressed quite inconspiciously (so much so that it is only for the purposes of the story that anyone noticed her at all), in an old coat of indeterminate shade, the hood pulled low over her eyes. Very few bystanders would have noticed the blue, high-heeled boots that peeked out from under the hem of the coat as she made her way across the crowded dance floor.

A few might have noticed that she was making her way toward that infamous corner table, but if they did, they didn't say anything. In fact, even the dog didn't notice her until she was standing right next to him. And then, he lifted his head slightly and gave a soft growl.

He may not have recognized her scent, she realized -- after all, she had been dead, and she supposed that it might change a person. She felt a pang of guilt at that -- he had been here a long time. She held out a slender, tanned hand with blue nails now cut short, and the movement as she knelt down to his level revealed a brief flash of sea-blue hair and rainbow-tinted scales.

The dog lifted his head, and sniffed, nose twitching curiously, and with a bit of suspicion. You couldn't trust most people, and others had tried to take him away, the wrong people. He was waiting for someone special.

For a moment, the dog wasn't certain. He sniffed, and sniffed again, and then he raised his head some more, and sniffed at her downturned face.

She raised her eyes to his, and the dog nuzzled her hand, holding in an excited bark. It was Her. She'd come back for him.

She smiled beneath the hood. "Poor baby," she murmured into the fluttering red ear. "They forgot about you, didn't they? Well, I didn't."

The dog panted happily. "Good boy," she said, standing up slowly. "Come on."

It was not for her, but for the dog that the crowds parted, not really even seeing why. But for a few bare seconds, everything in the Cafe was inexplicably still. A path cleared itself between the table and the door, and the girl and the dog walked slowly toward the door. The Bouncer stepped aside.

They stopped one last time, framed by the door, and then she reached down and patted the dog on the head. "Come on, Frisket," she said quietly. "Time to go home."

The dog rumbled his agreement, and bounded out the door without a backward glance.

The girl, however, turned and smiled at the baffled Cafe crowd. Then she vanished herself.

Inside, the Bouncer and the Bartender exchanged a satisfied nod. The mysterious silence continued for a moment more, and then the dancing resumed.


Disclaimer: Subreality is Kielle's -- or is it the other way round? She gets blanket permission. Anyone else, ask me and credit me.

Marvel and the X-chars are Marvel's.

The X-Mas conspiracy probably belongs to someone. I'm not really sure. If someone knows, tell me.

Frisket belongs to Mainframe Entertainment (though it would be fun if I did own him).

Points if you can figure out who She was.

La la la, nothing belongs to me. I have no money anyway, so suing me would hurt you more than it would hurt me.

Merry Whatever, everyone. :)