Nyssa's Christmas Carol

Part the Third:
The Second Spirit

A light was shining from the kitchen of Nyssa's flat. Opening the door she saw,
just as Mr Dickens had described, a heap of food that she knew had not been
there before. It did indeed form a throne, and on that throne was a large,
bearded figure in a green robe, carrying a cornocopia. "Come in," he boomed,
"Come in, and know me better, girl."

"Are you the Spirit of Christmas Present?" inquired Nyssa.

"*Bob* the Spirit of Christmas Present," the giant corrected her.

Nyssa narrowed her eyes. "So you are. Do you *have* to appear in all his

"No, but we needed a big fat man with a beard, and the only one that turned up
to the auditions was Sabbath. Daibhid didn't think he was jolly enough." the
spirit explained, ignoring the minor detail that, in point of fact, the Author
of this tale was not of the opinion Bob was jolly enough either, simply more so
than the aforementioned employer of anthropoids.

[Muse's Note: Meanwhile the Author neglects to mention that *I'm* of the
opinion he's overdoing the /faux/-Dickensian prose ever -so-slightly. And,
believe it or not, I *have* managed to get him to tone it down a bit!

"So that really was Tegan, was it?" Nyssa asked. The spirit reluctantly
confirmed it was so.

"And my father?"

"The Ainley Master, and some very good special effects."

"O-kay. So let's get this over with. Who's going to represent Tiny Tim? K-9?"

Bob the Spirit of Christmas Present scowled at this sarcasm, but led her
through a dimensional warp in the wall to This Time Round. It was Christmas
morning. The 'Round was, naturally given the time, quiet, but a few characters
were there. The Sixth Doctor, for instance, was struggling into a Father
Christmas outfit. As he adjusted the beard he turned to his trusty elf, Mel,
and requested the itinerary.

"Look Who's Talking first, since they've got less patience, then Newman
Primary," she reported. "Then the first and second years at HG Wells, but
they'll probably affect being too old for it. So will the Primary Sevens, if it
comes to that."

"I see," Sixth responded, "Well, felicitations of the occasion to you all, and
let the munificence commence! Ho, Dasher! Ho, Dancer! Ho... other assorted
ungulants whose nomenclature momentarily escapes me!" And, hoisting his sack,
he departed, Mel following.

Behind the bar, all the bar staff were on duty. Harry had been handed a long
list by Francois, and was going through it carefully. Adric was on the
telephone taling quietly.

"Thank you, Your Majesty. Goodbye." He turned to the others. "Okay, the
KAITAS crowd say that if we *can't* get a dragon's tail in time, boar's head is

"Oh good," said Fitz. "The butcher is less likely to think I'm *competely*
insane this time."

"Hey, he lives in Nameless, he should be used to this stuff," remarked Benny,
from the other side of the bar. "Same again, thanks."

Fitz took the empty mulled ale mug. "Should you be drinking this early?" he

"Just getting some practice in. I have a reputation to uphold. If the 'Round
held a Christmas party without Bernice Surprise Summerfield getting totally
pissed, I'd never be able to show my face in here again."

Harry checked the list again. "So that's, what, three boar's heads? Plus all
the turkeys. And pop into the health food shop on your way back and pick up the
nut roasts, there's a chap."

"Sure. Adric, can you give me a hand?" As they left, Harry was laughing with
Benny. "Humbug, she said! Yes, just like Scrooge! And she believed it, too."

"He's Nephew Fred, is he?" asked Nyssa, sarcastically, "A bit blatant, isn't

The spirit shrugged. "It makes the point, doesn't it?"

"I suppose."

As they left the 'Round. Nyssa heard Harry continuing, "I mean, who does she
end up hurting? Well, Adric, obviously, but herself also. Why can't she just
admit..." and then the door closed.

The spirit took her all around Nameless. All the inhabitants were celebrating
Christmas. Spike had, with a far too great show of reluctance to be believable,
nailed a holly wreath to the door. Even the sarcastic comments he and Nails
were making to Gaia and Tara about Wiccans who celebrated Christmas as well as
Yule were rather half-hearted.

Nyssa saw the HG Wells school disco, where the Mythological Mob tried to
protect poor Kari from rabid Harry Potter fans, and worked even harder than
usual to get Embericles accepted by the other kids. Luckily there was no
repetition of the incident from the previous year.

She saw the WANKERs and the ADF pass each other on the street. "This could be
interesting." she remarked to the spirit, who smiled and said nothing.

"Er, Merry Christmas, Doug."

"Um, yeah, Merry Christmas, Darren."

Nyssa turned to the spirit who simply said, "That's Christmas for you."
(Privately, he considered it was just as well Number One hadn't been there.)

She saw the Allinghams' Christmas dinner. Dominic had laid on a full
traditional spread, with a cracker beside each napkin, and was now waiting for
Kari and the girls to get home, and hoping he'd allowed for enough unexpected

"This is a Muse's Christmas dinner?" said Nyssa incredulously. "It's so...
well... *normal*."

The spirit nodded. "Have you ever thought that mythological beings might value
what normality they can get? It reaffirms our connection to humans, to get
slightly pretentious about it. And o'course, as a History Muse, Dom's rather
fond of tradition.

"If this is getting too subtle for you, then the message is that Christmas is
1) a time for families and 2) a time when everyone should feel generally at
peace with themselves and others."

"Thank you, I was getting it," snapped Nyssa, "He's not exactly subtle, your
author, is he? I'm still waiting for Tiny Tim to show up."

"For that," said the Spirit, "we must return to the 'Round."

They returned to the 'Round, where the Spirit held the door open for Candia
Harcourt, who was wearing, for reasons that are none of our business, an outfit
made entirely out of mistletoe. This had not, however, taken a lot of

The 'Round was getting quite crowded now, as their Christmas party got
underway. But in the middle of the bar Adric was slumped, looking depressed.

"I mean, why?" he said to Francois, who wasn't even pretending he was
listening. "Why, exactly, does she hate me so much? If I *knew* I'd do
something about it."

Nyssa frowned. It had honestly never entered her psychotic mind that Adric
might be under the impression she hated him. *Did* she hate him? She had never
considered the question. She killed him because... because....

Utterly confused, she turned to the spirit in the vain hope of help. Looking
serious, he intoned. "I see a lost Mortality Deferrment Card, and an empty bar
stool beside Wesley Crusher. If these shadows..."

"Give it a rest!" snapped Nyssa, and stormed off.

But her path was blocked by a black hooded spectre.

Part One - Part Two - Part Four - Part Five

Back to N