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It's Christmas, Cirra Constantine!
(2012-12-24 - 2012-12-25)
A chance meeting between Mercade, Sable, and an erstwhile Judge results in Cirra asking the most terrible question one can ask during a holiday on a Disney-based MUSH. Musicals ensue.
Sable Traverse Town, crowded and busy. A hush has started to fall over the city for there must be some times in which the tides must flow out for them to flow back in. However. There is one particular knot of activity near the coliseum.

"Look kid. I know a bad apple when I see one. THE ANSWER IS TWO WORDs: /AM/-SCRAY."

And a forcible ejection of said kid from said grounds in a not too gentle fashion. Not anything harmful, kind-- but enough for the human teenager to be left eating cobblestone and picking himself up from being sprawled across the street.

"Stubborn old goat." Sable mutters to himself, wiping a trail of blood from the corner of his mouth as he picks himself up. "I'll be back tomorrow" he yells at the closed Coliseum doors. "And the day after that-- and the one after that!" he makes a noise of frustration, throwing up one hand. "Why should I even bother. I never should have listened to that lady. Hghn.." Sable rubs his still raw shoulder tenderly with one hand, kneading the muscles.
Mercade Alexander Even in these times, there is a demand for entertainment. Combat, thatre, whatever it takes to take one's mind off of the situations that face them.

Especially in these times.

As the teenager is launched from the Coliseum, he flies past a man leaning against the wall of the building. The man was reading a small notepad, while fiddling with a toothpick in his mouth. Eyes flick up to track the trajectory of the teen, and a faint smile crosses his face.

Sable finds a hand reaching out to help him up. "You look like you're having some trouble." Mercade Alexander says, and looks over his shoulder at those closed doors. "I didn't think they got so picky about their participants these days." With a glance back to Sable, Mercade gestures. "Are you all right?"
Sable "Uh.. well." Sable looks chagrined and allows himself to be helped up. "The goat has a point. I did-- sort of crash one of his junior matches."

The teenager rolls his eyes up at the night sky, slapping one hand against the armored gauntlet of the other with a 'thunk' of flesh on burnished, slightly warped metal. The jacket has a few scorch marks here and there that darken the overall green. "And I'm /offering/ to help him, because those same Juniors fled instead of fighting for their slot." he makes a gesture. "Maybe that's actually more common sense than anything. I did drag Avira along with me."

The teenager grins at Mercade. "So I deserve whatever I get-- but I'll win him over eventually. " he extends a hand towards the man. "Sorry, you caught me at a bad time. Thankfully, my supervisor isn't here to beat my manners back into me. Hey, I'm Sable. Hearts Intertwined. Nice to meet you."
Mercade Alexander "Pssh." Mercade shakes his head, as well as Sable's hand. "Name's Mercade. Mercade Alexander. Detective with the Twilight Detective Agency." He smiles at the description of what happened. "You sure know how to make an entrance, then."

He pauses for a moment at the mention of Avira, looking over Sable quietly before he continues. "If you brought Avira with you, no wonder why you made the kiddie pool flip out and run. She's goddamn terrifying to people who don't know what to expect."

He shrugs. "You're probably right. Just give it time and they'll cool off." He looks over at the patch on Sable's jacket. "Hearts Intertwined, eh? Good stuff. They've been helping a lot." He nods. "Don't worry too much about manners. I'm not one to stand on formalities."

He turns and leans back against the wall, casually watching people pass by. "So what's your story, kid? Are you a refugee? A volunteer? How did you get involved with HI?"
Sable "I do. My mom always said I was terminally overdramatic." Sable looks down at the ground, pulling the jacket away from him to look at the patch as if he still actually can't believe it was there.

When he looks up again he finds a lightpole to lean against, kicking one foot against the metal while his hands were hooked to his jeans pockets. "And I dunno. I sort of just fell into it.." He allows a minute or so to pass in which he just watches people pass through the streets. There is a faintly questioning nature to his scan, as if he's searching for something, even if it's just searching for the right words to say.

"After the fall, there was just-- so many questions. I mean. After I lost my home, it seemed nobody had the answers. It's been chaos here. So I'm just--" he gestures to Traverse Town. "Making it up as I go along." Sable smirks. "Don't tell anybody I said that, though. Somebody's got to act like they've got all the answers."
Mercade Alexander "Meh, you'll grow out of it. Or you won't. Whatever works, right?" Mercade shrugs. While Sable watches the people, Mercade shifts his watching to Sable. "So you were from Manhattan, huh? And it's all right, you can go ahead and pretend. I know the feeling. People will look up to you and hope that you can solve their problems." He laughs. "As if you don't have enough of them, right?"

He looks away, putting his hands in his pockets. "There's still hope out there, even if it is tough right now. People need others to look up to. I'm glad you're working with HI to give people a hand, they need it right now."
Sable Sable snorts faintly. "Said like a guy who piles people's troubles up on a plate and then takes some more. Well, at least as long as I don't get too high up on a high horse people won't try to knock me off it. What about you? --Manhattan?"

The question seems more a formality than anything else, as he looks pretty certain in whatever judgements he's already made about the detective. "I mean, I haven't seen you around but a lot of people land on their feet better than others."
Cirra Constantine A woman in a black winter coat walks down the street. Her silver hair is tucked in under the fur linned hood. Once again she finds herself looking at the buildings, trying to locate one in perticular without knowing what she's actually looking for.

Once again, Cirra constantine curses the name Mercade Alexander.
Mercade Alexander "Said like a kid who probably will keep his feet on the ground." Mercade replies, chuckling. "You don't seem like the type that will get on that horse and ride it."

Mercade shrugs. "It's my business to help people. I get paid to do it. I'm no saint..." He sighs, looking up at the blackness of the Traverse sky. "I just do what I can to help people who can't get it from anywhere else."

He looks back over to Sable. "I've been exploring the worlds. Looking for ways to deal with problems that are more... common to the people I run into. Like the Heartless. Those things are a threat to everyone. We need to find a way to stop them sooner rather than later."

That's about when Cirra rolls past, undoubtedly cursing his name. He knows that look. "Hey Cirra!" Mercade calls, waving to her. "Looking for something?"
Sable Sable leans away from the light pole as his scanning eyes pick out somebody from the crowd with a look he is starting to recognize.

He straightens his jacket, making a gesture of 'Uh. Hold that thought.' as he steps away from the light-- but apparently the detective knows the woman in question, so he crosses his arms and goes back to leaning against the pole.

"Have you made any progress? I mean-- what are those things anyways? I mean. Reptiles and guys from a mafia movie and LIVING CARS." Sable laughs a little in grim amazement. "I'm.. more than a little surprised I lived through that."
Cirra Constantine Curse the devil's name and he shall appear.

Cirra pauses and looks over at Mercade and the person he's talking to. She takes a few tenative steps towards them, givine Sable a small nod. "Mercade. You still haven't told me if you've fodn a palce, but Will sent me something. A picture from harvest day, but I have a question."

Cirra looks slightly uncomfortable, as if about to ask sometihng that seems like common knowledge, her shoulders bunch up as she looks at the ground "What..."

"Is Christmas?"
Mercade Alexander "Heartless are creatures who are spawned from the darkness in people's hearts. They consume and reproduce by taking the hearts of others. They seem to theme themselves by the area they're from."

Cirra then approaches, gripes about the usual problem (keeping track of the TDA), and then suddenly...

Mercade's eyes widen in shock and perhaps slightly exaggerated horror as he realizes he suddenly has been trapped in a Christmas Holiday Special. While slowly checking for potential appearances of musical numbers, he approaches Cirra, putting a consoling hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry about it, Cirra. It's a holiday that doesn't seem to be common to all worlds. It's, well..." He thinks on how best to begin describing it...
Sable Somehow and somewhere, a conversation is being derailed.

It spins desperately on it's few remaining wheels before it tragically falls over the bridge, dragging all the trains of thought with it screaming into the holiday spirit.

Sable turns his attention to Cirra as she asks that question. He pauses, lost in thought for a minute as surprisingly the detective seems to halt in mid-stride, apparently holidays are a very complicated and awkward subject, This one in particular.

"Um. There's a lot of singing involved." is the teenager's helpful contribution as he cheerfully interrupts the new conversation with the subtlety and grace of a sledgehammer. "and.. people ask me about the weather because it's supposed to be snowing. I don't even know if it ever does anything here. -- there's no weather. " He looks like he is about to say something else, but he seems to realize that would put him out over conversational thin ice and so he just falls quiet after that.
Cirra Constantine Cirra's expression turns to confusion as Mercade's thatrical shock and horror is turned on, "Uhm, what did I say...?" she trails off as Mercade's tone changes. She just looks more confused at the consoling hand on her shoulder. "Another holiday? You seem to have a lot..."

"Singing?" Cirra asks incredulously. "I'm not going to be asked to sing, am I?" she asks flatly.
Mercade Alexander By the time Mercade heard the people playing the music, it was already too late. His mind was focused on explaning Christmas to Cirra, and there was only one way to do it.

The carolers appear and begin singing a bright background tune, conveniently framing Mercade as he reaches out to take Cirra's hand. "Christmas isn't just any holiday." Mercade explains. "It's one of the most important of the year!"

Mercade pulls Cirra along, dancing among the crowd. She isn't under any particular compulsion to join in. She does, however, see a tableau of coincidences in the background aligning around them to begin illustrating his song, as laughing children run by while chimes ring out.

"0It's the smile of a child,
It's that feeling in the air,

A fake snow machine malfunctions in the background, coughing up a huge pile of flaky white stuff onto a group of people, who laugh and hug each other.

"0When the snow is all piled,
And your family is all there...

The carolers surround them in an evenly-spaced circle, the music rising as Mercade leaps up onto a table, singing to the sky as he throws his arms wide. Cirra would theoretically be given a chance to escape the horrors of a Christmas musical, but is she going to plow over a caroler to do it?

"0It's the people gathered singing,
The sounds of sleigh bells ringing,
And the love and warmth of those who care.

And suddenly Mecade turns, leaping back down to put an arm around Cirra, waving an arm outwards towards the Manhattanites and other assorted crossworlders, all displaying festive cheer as they sing and celebrate in their own ways.

"0They call it Christmas! And it's all here to see,
A holiday of the heart, for you and me...
Han Su Li Suddenly Han Su Li's head pokes out of a window from a near-by buildings, holding a big steaming bowl of ramen, as well as two chopsticks that he snaps together rythmically in the imagined beat of Mercades's song.

"They call it Christmas? I call it a /good time/,
Not just for me, but for you yee!"

Then, in-petto, toward some imaginary people close-by that would hear his whispers. "That, and I must confess,
It's good time for buisness."
Deidra It was like a call really a feeling she should be somewhere. She had told Will they had to head out, she had a feeling Mercade needed them like RIGHT NOW. So off they went, grabbing several of the Legion to come along. It was a hard flight but she was able to do it with enough speed to arrive in time. They might not have made it in time, otherwise. There's a musica number well under way and Mercade has no back up. It might take her a moment as she swoops in to let off Will, but it's going to take her a moment to land before she might start singing. Given she just carried four people in she's going to need a breather.
Will Sherman Suddenly, from on high...

Will is brought along, VIA a flying compatriot!

"Beneath the stars, twinkling bright..

Will says, fishing around his pocket for something. A fishing pole in hand as he slips said thing onto the end of it...

"Sitting with loved ones, caroling all night... Will points Deidra down, aiming to get closer to Cirra and Mercade, the Fishing pole extends, aiming to hover the said object over them.

"Beneath the mistletoe...where loved ones hold each other tight..

Will continues his part of the song, holding the mistletoe over the pair, resisting the urge to get a snapshot for Avira.

Huh...that is a new guy... Oh well!

"They call it Christmas! And it's all here to see,
A holiday of the heart, for you and me..." he says, pointing to Umi to take it away!
Sable Sable has the feeling this is what it is like to be insane.

He blinks several times, each time expecting carolers, snow machines and singing Mercade and background music to have evaporated.

The teenager takes the camera out of his pocket, taking a picture of the festivities-- with Mercade on a table, and then-- musicals happens.

Horrible. Horrible Musicals happen. He stands on the periphery of the crowd. He gets snowed on-- by fake snow. He rubs the fake snow between his fingers and looks at the scene with this helpless look of absolute and complete exasperated confusion.
Legion Three members of Legion are, apparently, being carried by Deidra. In reality there is no way this would be possible right? Like holding four poeple at once? Madness. But this is Disney so they're probably just all stacked up on each other like a towering pile of hats or, in this case, a towering pile of fleshlings.

Two are dressed up as pirates. One is wearing a chocobo scalp and has face paint on like an Indian. That one is in the middle so it's sort of like a Legion sandwich.

"A holiday where you aren't executed suddenllllyyyyy!" Umi, one of the Legion 'pirates', sings.
The other Legion smacks her upside the head lightly.
"Um, that is..A Holiday you can spend with your family!"
The other two Legions nod, this is more appropriate.

Embarrassing photos that we can share, later we'll see it shows we care! The Network adds that this is not a dare, gifts for everyone that have been fair~"

The other pirate smacks her upside the head lightly again.
Celina Duvalis There is a chocobo approaching! It has a red leather bridle, and silver bells strung along in. Celina, in a Christmas Hat, is perched upon Moon Emblem, her eyes sparkling as she takes up the next set of lyrics.

"Open your heart and you will sing -"
"At the joy of Christmas and what it brings."

(You wondered what Celina was doing? Look at the bag of mistletoe over her shoulder. Stop wondering.)

"A holiday for all of us,"
"Full of love and kindness.."

She reigns Moon Emblem in, watching Cirra and Sable for a thoughtful look. Then she throws a mistletoe over Mercade's head.

"They call it Christmas! And it's all here to see,
A holiday of the heart, for you and me..."

And there goes Celina. Goodbye Celina.
Cirra Constantine Cirra's head turns as the Carolers appear and start singing. What? she looks even more confused as Mercade starts to get into hte swing of things and takes her hand. "Time of the year-W-wait!" she's puleld along despite her complaints into Mercade's musical number and dancing through the crowds, she hurridly sidesteps to avoid children running under foot.

Cirra flinches at the snow machine blowing out "Look out-" But then it starts, it truely truely starts.

Mercade starts singing. Cirra looks at the detective with both eyebrows arching up over her eyes. "Why are you singing, I only asked a..."

Carolers suddenly surround them, the coincidences in the background getting more and more in theme. Once she's released from Mercade's grip though she turns and starts trying to move out of the circle, but it's like every one of the carollers has perfectly syncronized movement "Let me... through!" she gets turned round as the singers start to add syncronized choreography to the routine, dancing around in circles and she gets spun back towards Mercade with a suprised expression as he leaps back down and puts an arm around her, making her looks distinctly uncomfortable.

"Thats every holiay! I meant why /toda-" Then other people start coming out of the woodwork to add their own two cents, she seems to shrink down under Mercade's arm like she wants to disappear. Then /Will Sherman/.

"What the hell is he doing? Why is he holding a plant on a string?"

Legion adds their own rendition which just serves to make Cirra even more confused, not executed, /what/?

Cirra has come to the conclusion that Christmas is the day everyone from Manhattan goes /completely insane/ and just stares ahead, dumbstruck.

"...I think I'd like to celebrate Christmas at home..."

Legion "And then you sit on an old man's lap and he asks if you've been naughty!" Umi sings.
Cirra Constantine Umi is stared at by the Judge with soemthing border between bewilderment and sheer mind numbing terror, lips twitching slightly at the corner in a stress reaction. "I'm leaving." Cirra says flatly.
Maximilien He just sort of drops down out of the sky, his nice red opera cape flowing around him as he gently lands between Cirra and Mercade; Max brushes his hair back under his...santa hat...and smiles, tugging on his immaculate cufflinks as he joins in. His voice sounds very much like an opera singer more than anything; well-controlled, well-trained, his accent purged by sheer reflex. Maximilien's grin widens just a little bit as he notes the mistletoe.

"A holiday of giving,
a holiday of cheer,
a holiday for family and friends to be held dear"
"A holiday of loving,
of friendship and charity
a holiday a holiday for the whole world
to gather 'round the Christmas Tree..."

Max throws open his arms, slipping one around Cirra's shoulder and the other around Mercade's. "A holiday for all the kindness
people cannot show
to come and gather 'round the world
to remind you that no matter what,
you are not alone..."

And then he leans over and plants a kiss on Cirra's lips, swiftly and gently...then turns around and does the same thing to Mercade.

"Bonsoir, madamoiselle; bonsoir, monsieur Alexander. Merry Christmas, mm? A bit of advice - do not stand under the mistletoe if you are unwary, mmm~?"
Legion Umi starts singing, "Sha-la-la-la-la-la My oh My, Look at the girl too shy, he's going to French the girl"
The Other Pirate Legion uses the marge stare to subdue her.
Mercade Alexander And then things just get out of hand. The rest of the TDA shows up and adds their own flair to the musical, making it even more complicated and amazing...

And terrible in their own ways. Mercade attempts to spin Cirra away from the mistletoe. And to his credit, it sails past more than once harmlessly. He catches the mistletoe Celina tosses at him and sticks it in a pocket, before Will finally gets it into position...

And Max shows up and kisses them both.

Mercade blinks for a moment, shocked. The musical tries to go on for a moment, as the air record-screeches. Everyone stops and pauses, looking to Mercade as he struggles to marshal his resources to continue...

And then he looks up. A light shines down, a well-placed spotlight that forms a lit ring around him.

"0The origins of Christmas day,
within a land so far away,
A legend born for those who pray,
For salvation from eternal dark.

The chorus comes back in, singing low and softly.

"0Celebration of this blessed time,
When snow has fallen and ice does rime,
we exchange gifts and sing songs sublime,
With feasts around the fire's spark.

The chorus grows in tempo, before the lights come back on. Mercade reaches out and takes Cirra's hand again, pulling her along the people as they begin to move on. Lines of carolers surround them as people dressed in a variety of holiday celebratory gear are seen.

"0Not all people to these adhere,
other celebrations are held so dear,
To mark the passing of time and the end of a year,
For the end of time is marked.
Cirra Constantine More singing, Cirra doesn't want more singing! Then a frenchman is suddenly between her and Mercade, "Oh not again-" She is kissed. This does not warrent the thermal nuclear response some people might expect. Rather her eyes half lid as if she was consdiering something, and the frenchman turns to kiss Mercade. At least she's not alone in that emberassment.

But then something strange happens. Maximilien finds himself going weak in the knees and his vision blurry, he's feeling a little woozy. And then Mercade pulls Cirra away for more festivities, removing the support from Max's weakened state. Cirra smiles lopsidedly as she moves after Mercade, with an actual bit of spring in her step. That was a heck of a kiss.

0LIMITBREAK: Dark Comfort!

Cirra uses a gloved finger to wipe her mouth carefully.

"Who wants to use that plant now?" This is where you all say 'no'.

Cirra pauses to watch the finale of the show as Mercade goes into the expination of legend and of a shining light being born in a land far away. This makes the Dark Knight stop and think.

"All of this could have been anwered so easily,
If you had just said it clearly."

Is she singing? She's singing. Not a bad voice either.

"That this is a time for family and friends,
To remind each other of the light."

Sh turns on her heel, hte hem of her coat swishing out as she leaves a woozy Max and Mercade behind as she begins to walk through the street covered in fake snow. She pauses, looking back, smiling a /tiny/ bit.

"But just remember that /I/ don't kiss under that mistletoe,
Unless you like regrets."

And with that, the silver haired Judge walks out of Traverse Town.
Maximilien Max wobbles for a moment. He wasn't really expecting that; he stumbles, reaching out to grab the fountain for support. He can tell that he's either been poisoned or magically affected; he's had enough magical training and more than enough experience with poisons and the like. He stumbles, moving to sit down, and then grins.

"A thousand times yes, madamoiselle," Maximilien replies as she asks who wants to use the plant; she's led away by Mercade, and he watches her walk off, shaking his head as wooziness takes hold.

"I never regret, madamoiselle Constantine; life is no fun if a man does not dare."
Will Sherman Will watches what happens, amused...

Laughing, finally, he reaches into his bag of things, and throws a present down towards Cirra as she walks off, "G'night, and merry christmas, Cirra." he says, to her with a smile, realing the Mistletoe back in and hands the pole with the green thing to Umi.

"I think you know what to do with this, my friend."
Deidra Deidra is about to start singing when well that goes all out of the window as Cirra does infact sings, and walks on ouyt hey no one died it seems for a moment. Well Max may be harmed but he's not dfead at the very least. SO nothing went that bad right? "Merry christmas Cirra!"
Sable Sable is following along with this chaos, threading through the crowd and the blasting snow machines. He certainly doesn't miss Will Sherman being carried by Deidra plus a collection of people being stacked like hats and singing about not being executed.

There is a look of vague wonder on his face at the schenadigans. In any other day, that would be the cue. The little cue that says 'You know. I think it's time to pack it up. Just run around a corner, and go hide under a bed somewhere.

That would be the most sane thing to do right now. There was even choreographed /dancing/. And a spotlight? And another flash of a camera taking photographic evidence of this breach of reality. The musical rolls on. Cirra seems to be enjoying herself about the same as he is, possibly less.

This is perhaps the Will Sherman school of question answering-- in which you get your question answered, in a way more thoroughly than YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW and at the same time mind-bogglingly confusing.

Mostly, what Sable feels is.. left out. Cirra leaves and he entertains throwing himself into the middle of the madness for a moment, but he has no family to sing for or about. No dares to take. No Home. No stake-- and no real place in these festivities. Sable looks towards a distracted Will Sherman and decides to make his exit quietly.

He smiles lopsidedly at the spectacle, murmuring "What a bunch of loons.." to himself, so quietly that nobody can possibly hear him over the sound of Horrible, Brilliant Festive Musicals. Like any sane person when confronted with a musical, he fades back into the crowd and disappears.
Legion Umi is handed a pole. She looks at it. She looks at Will. She considers this but it's probably for the best she does not engage in her initial instinct. She salutes Will with the pole. "Yes sir, The Network will harass plenty of people minding their own business in the name of hijinkery."

Legion isn't entirely sure, though, how this relates to helping people.

This scene contained 33 poses. The players who were present were: Deidra, Will Sherman, Sable, Mercade Alexander, Cirra Constantine, Celina Duvalis, Maximilien, Han Su Li, Legion