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09-18-20 02:48 PM

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(Don't) Let It Snow
A Christmas short. In the Upper House, it always rains, but what will its mistress do when it snows on that one special Christmas? Loosely based on KttK, but a Christmas story nonetheless!
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12-19-13 10:44 PM
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(Don't) Let It Snow

 

12-19-13 10:44 PM
Dragonlord Stephi is Offline
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Hello! This is a Christmas fanfiction I wrote based on Keys to the Kingdom, but I think people who've never read the books would enjoy this nonetheless, which is why I uploaded it here. Please tell me what you think?

And yes, it is a little long.


(Don't) Let It Snow

The Upper House never had a moment of quiet.
For one thing, there was always the grinding and whirring of the tower, as the grease monkeys and other Denizens built, or as the structure rearranged itself. Even if that had been eliminated (though Saturday would never suffer enough to allow that to occur for even a moment), there was always the drizzling rain- always, always, always, never-ceasing, there was the pounding of the rain striking the ground.
When Saturday awoke, it was dead silent.
That immediately banished any and all drowsiness, and she leaped to her feet, sending a roll of records cascading down. She hadn't meant to fall asleep, but she'd pulled several nights without it, and despite being a Denizen, she did have to sleep sometime… not to mention, there had been so much work…
She grabbed the quill pen that was the Sixth Key off the desk and dashed to the window, heartbeat so frantic she could hear it thrumming in her ears. The second she saw the view, she nearly fainted.
It was snowing, drifts already forming, and little piles beginning to amass on the windowsill. Saturday slammed it open and in a half-wrathful, half-panicking gesture, swept the snow off the sill. She gave a little angry squeal and then, because she knew she had to investigate at the bottom floor and it was much easier than walking down the hundred flights of stairs or even using an elevator, she jumped straight down and out of the window.
Landing jarred her a little, and she gritted her teeth, but the pain passed quickly, and as far as she could tell, she wasn't injured. It was a perk of being a Denizen, being able to jump so far as to kill anything else, without mortal injury or even broken bones. Even if she had broken anything, the Key she held in a death grip would have easily set it right, good as new.
She paused to fix a stray strand of hair.
Still vain, I see, said the snow.
"Oh, shut up!" snapped Saturday. "I don't need this right now." She held the nib of the Key against her throat and ordered it, "Key, amplify my voice, please. DENIZENS OF THE UPPER HOUSE!"
There was no answer except a squat, waddling snowman from which the head of some star cataloguer Saturday may have seem once or twice poked out. "Yes, Majesty!" He took another step, and the snow fell off, all around him. "You called?"
"Where is everyone?"
"Day off, Majesty."
"I DIDN'T GIVE ANYONE A DAY OFF!" she spat.
"Um, Majesty, someone asked you about two hundred years ago when their next day off was, and you said, 'When it stops raining.'"
"They remembered?" she scowled. "You- what's your name?"
"Pravuil, Majesty."
"Okay, Pravuil- what are you doing here if everyone's having a day off?"
"Playing in the snow, Majesty."
"What a ridiculous notion," Saturday sniffed. "Playing."
Try it sometime. All that grump is going to give you an ulcer someday. What a shame.
"Will you SHUT UP?" she yelled.
"I didn't say anything," Pravuil replied, confused.
"Not you!"
"Then who?"
She bit her lip. Upper House Denizens were not supposed to know where she had hidden the Will- the rain- or who it could talk to- her and the Rightful Heir. Separating the Will into the individual raindrops both killed its mortifyingly annoying chatter and any chance someone undesirable would find it- namely, anyone other than one of the Trustees, including this Pravuil character, who she concluded had slightly below-average intelligence.
"Um, Majesty, who were you talking to?" Pravuil repeated.
Saturday had no response, so she took one of Sunday's favorite one-liners, which he constantly threw at her when she asked him what in the House he did all day. "My actions are too lofty for one such as yourself to ascertain."
"Oh." Pravuil seemed slightly disappointed. What, did he really think I'd just outright tell him everything?
"Anyway," she sighed, "do you know how this snow got here?"
Don't you believe in miracles? The Will asked.
Saturday kicked a snow drift in response.
That won't work, Trustee. Now that it's snowing, I'm EVERYWHERE.
"Oh, goody. How did this happen?" she seethed. There was a chance- slim though it was- that the Will could escape if enough snow was gathered in one place. Even if she melted the snow, the Will could easily collect itself in the resulting puddles. Unless she could make the rain fall up and then down again, perhaps simultaneously in some sort of circuit, until she could get this sorted out…
"Oh! You mean how it started snowing?" Pravuil asked, interrupting her train of thought.
"Yes! What else would I be talking about?"
"Well, a star died last night. It was pretty spec-"
Saturday groaned and muttered something akin to 'Stupid ordinary-grade Denizens' under her breath. Then, louder, she snapped, "I couldn't care less about some star that blew up last night! I want to know why it's snowing and not raining!"
I like snow. It's quite nice, said the Will.
"AAARGH!" She kicked another snow drift, but tripped and landed face-first in a large pile, the white, feathery stuff tickling her cheeks and nose.
Clumsy much?
Saturday sneezed and stood up. "Pravuil! If you know ANYTHING about this at all, I'm ordering you to spill it now!"
He winced. Definitely knows something, Saturday decided.
"Ah, Majesty, it goes like this…"

*** THE PREVIOUS NIGHT ***

"What a beautiful death," Pravuil sighed. "Of all the stars I've seen…" He grinned. "There is, of course, a more beautiful one." He looked up. Somewhere above him, his Most Venerable Mistress was running the House, keeping the Universe perfectly catalogued and recorded. She even- bless her- lent a helping hand to fix it for the better, helping the poor mortals and other inhabitants realize their true potentials. It was quite rude of everyone else to call this 'interfering.' She was 'intermediating' to make them see what the Architect truly had planned for them.
Yes, his mistress had to be the best thing to ever deem stepping foot in the House.
"Pravuil? Pravuil? You're hopeless," said his boss Aylin. "Quit daydreaming and get back to cataloguing!"
Pravuil groaned. Aylin didn't like him. She called him a 'near-mortal emotional wreck,' a 'useless idiot with his head in the nova clouds,' and a 'lovesick excuse for a sentient organism.' Pravuil was certain she got the last line from a book or play, because he doubted Aylin knew what love was. Come to think of it, he didn't quite know either.
He complied, however, and turned back to cataloguing. Then a thought struck him as he remembered a particular star that came several hundred years ago, on this same night. "Aren't the mortals celebrating Christmas this time of year?" he asked.
"Yes, they are," Aylin scoffed. "The Far Reaches has some sort of Santa character they send out yearly. It makes for hectic records. Luckily, it has nothing to do with stars, but I pity the poor fools stuck in the Denizen-Mortal Relations Department."
"I didn't think Grim Tuesday was the kind of person who'd give millions of mortal children presents," Pravuil said.
"The Architect instated Santa centuries ago, as part of the festivities. She was quite fond of Christmas, from what I understand. Anyway, if the Grim were to get rid of him, he'd have terrible sorcerous complications and retributions."
"Why doesn't Santa visit the Trustees?"
"How should I know?"
"Well, maybe Her Excellency Superior Saturday would like a present," Pravuil suggested.
"Don't be ridiculous!" Aylin snorted. "Denizens have no need of such things as 'presents.' What would you get her anyway?"
"I don't know," Pravuil admitted. The rain splashed against his umbrella, and he was reminded both how jealous he was of the higher-ups in the tower who got actual roofs and walls, and how much he hated the constant deluge. He wasn't alone. He was certain he'd heard Saturday on the phone complaining to Duchess Wednesday of the Border Sea, her best friend in the Universe, about it. He hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but he had just been walking past and 'overheard' their conversation, and then conveniently slowed to a stop in a suitable hiding place.
Duchess Wednesday expressed her concerns for "how the rain is affecting your temperament, m'dear," and then some sort of meeting to discuss somebody's Will, but by then Aylin had grabbed Pravuil's ears and yanked him away from the telephone booth, dragging him all the way back to his desk. But he knew all he needed. Saturday loathed the rain.
Now, trying to come up with a present, the memory of hearing her confess it sprang to the forefront of his mind.
Pravuil jumped to his feet. "Aylin!"
Her scowl, which was near-permanent, deepened. "What, Pravuil?"
"Could you take me to the Weather Machine?"
Aylin looked like she'd rather hug one of the Old One's insane, giggling mechanical puppet-torturers than go ANYWHERE with Pravuil. "But… it's broken."
"I know."
"It's been broken for nigh on four thousand years," Aylin added.
"I know."
"You STILL want to go?"
"Yup! Um, it's quiet, so I thought I could concentrate better and catch up on some work."
"Work here."
"But I really think I'd do better there."
"Whatever." Aylin shrugged and turned back to her work.
"Will you show me?"
"Get there yourself."
"Rude," he muttered.
Aylin looked up. "What was that?"
"Nothing." Pravuil kept quiet and finished recording some details about the birth of a large star that he felt was exceptionally 'special,' another concept he didn't quite understand but felt was nice. Once his shift ended, he grabbed his umbrella and ran off. It took him fifteen tries to find a Denizen who knew how to get to the Weather Machine, and several hours to actually reach it.
It was, it turned out, at the top of the tower, above Saturday's private chambers. He had run into Noon, who always scared him, but he babbled some excuse about needing a telescope to check a particular star, acting much stupider than he really was.
Thus, he reached the Weather Machine without incident.
"Crap," he said, the second he saw it.
For one thing, it was huge. It completely dwarfed him. He immediately wondered why in the House he thought he could fix it. Sitting down, with his back against it, he sighed and closed his eyes. When he opened them, a bespectacled Denizen with far too many moving tattoos was staring at him.
"AAH!" screamed Pravuil.
"AAH!" screamed the Denizen.
"What are you doing here?" asked Pravuil.
"What are you doing here?" asked the Denizen.
"You first."
"No, you."
"NO, you first."
"No, I insist. Really. You go first."
"You go first or… or… or I'll blast you!" Pravuil threatened, waving his umbrella menacingly.
"No, you won't," sighed the Denizen, adjusting his spectacles. "The name's Scamandros. I have a final tomorrow, and I couldn't concentrate with all the noise, so I thought I'd come up here, since only her Majesty comes up here, and even she rarely deems to check on this."
"I'm Pravuil. I thought I'd fix the Weather Machine," he replied.
"Why?"
"As a present," Pravuil grinned, but it was gone as soon as he looked at it again. "Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do."
"Did you try kicking it?" suggested Scamandros sagely.
"No."
"Well, kick it."
Pravuil nodded, drew back his foot, and kicked it. A metallic thrum reverberated around him as he clutched his foot. "Oow oww owww," he moaned. "Is it fixed?"
Scamandros peered at it. "Um, my observations say no."
"Perfect!" Pravuil threw his hands up into the air. "I give up!"
"But you've barely tried anything," Scamandros protested.
"I'm a Denizen. We don't try. We don't act special. We don't get presents. We don't do anything but work. We don't even love."
"Maybe we don't do those things, but that doesn't mean it's because we're Denizens. We could learn, Pravuil. Learn to try, or give presents, or even love."
"That sounds nice, though," Pravuil grumped, "and the House isn't nice."
"Let me take a look," Scamandros said gently, probably sensing how upset and disappointed Pravuil was.
"But you have a final to study for!" Pravuil said. "I would feel terrible getting in the way."
"Oh, don't worry. It's my pleasure," Scamandros waved off. "I guess you could say I'm trying to prove a point."
"What point?"
"That Denizens can be nice, and they can try." Scamandros opened his umbrella and tapped the Weather Machine, still talking. "Just because everyone you know is a scumbag doesn't mean the whole House is. You mentioned a present. Who's the lucky lady?"
Pravuil blushed. "How did you know?"
"Who else would it be for? You're out of the ordinary, Pravuil, and that's a good thing. If she doesn't realize it…"
"She doesn't exactly know I exist," Pravuil admitted. "I guess you could call me a secret admirer."
"Ah." Scamandros was now beginning a complicated spell. "This isn't broken, Pravuil. It's been sabotaged and then fixed with the Seventh Key just enough to allow only the rain- I suppose Lord Sunday has decided he'd like the Upper House permanently wet. It makes me wonder who broke it, but… Anyway, the rain is fixed. I can't stop it. But I CAN change its form for a little bit- freeze it as it falls, and make snow. Temporarily, of course."
"Anything. She hates the rain. I heard her say it," Pravuil divulged.
"I used to like a girl," Scamandros said, drawing with some sort of strange orange ink on the Weather Machine.
"Who?"
"Oh, she drowned," Scamandros said matter-of-factly. "She was a Navigator-Sorcerer, and things… didn't work out for her ship. Tell me the name of yours. I might know her."
"Well, you know of her, that's for sure. It's… well… I like Saturday."
Scamandros dropped to the floor. Pravuil thought it was because he needed to draw something on the bottom of the Machine, but realized he was laughing. "What's so funny?"
"Oh, Pravuil… why her? She's a touchy, cantankerous, wouldn't-give-you-the-time-of-day sort of superior Denizen. You deserve better."
"I do?"
"Of course. Like I said, you're a special guy, Pravuil. And not to speak ill of Her Majesty, but, quite frankly, anyone'd deserve better." Scamandros finished the writing with a low, sweeping flourish, and the words began to swim and crawl over the surface of the Machine. "There. Snow. It should start any second now. She'll have a surprise tomorrow."

"Oh, I've had a surprise, all right," Saturday hissed.
You don't like it? Pity.
"If you escape…" Saturday said through gritted teeth.
"I'm not going anywhere!" Pravuil exclaimed.
"Not- oh, forget it. Twenty-four hours, you said it'd last?"
"Yes. Does it make you feel happy?"
Saturday hadn't felt happy in millennia, and a little white fluff on the ground with the Will in it wasn't going to foot the bill. But she could use loyalty like Pravuil's, even if she did have to make an example of him so that others wouldn't decide to mess or tinker with the Machine.
"Indeed. It's quite nice. Unfortunately," she began, ready to lie through her teeth, "Lord Sunday has expressly ordered me not to change the weather whatsoever. I'm afraid the punishment is a transfer to the Coal Cellar."
Wow. What an obvious lie.
"But-but-but" Pravuil stuttered.
For the first time in… well, ever… Saturday almost felt sorry for someone. Almost. Not quite enough to stop her from sending him to the Lower House, though. She did, however, reach into her pocket and pull out a long, clearly transdimensional pouch. "Here. You'll find several useful items in here, as well as a button. Push it if you need to tell me anything important- IMPORTANT, mind you. I don't want to hear anything about stars or coal or whatever. Now, I suggest you get in an elevator. Um, now."
She waved. "Now," she repeated, when he didn't move. He was crying. She could tell. "Pravuil…" she sighed. "Okay, how about this… if you see the Rightful Heir and can prove yourself a worthy servant, I'll let you back."
"That's not a real hope!" protested Pravuil.
That's not a very real hope, though I loathe to admit it, protested the Will.
"But it's a hope," Saturday said, a bit too cheerily.
"I will prove myself!" Pravuil declared. "I will be your finest servant!" Then he handed her his umbrella and began to shuffle away.
What devoted love. Either he's blind or willing to look past all your faults, the Will said.
"Mortal inventions have no place in the house," Saturday retorted. "Love included. You told me that yourself."
Ah, my friend, you are both my first creation and my first failure, the Will lamented. I may have accidentally screwed your life.
"Now you notice?" Saturday said, kicking the snow yet again for good measure, even though she knew it didn't do anything.
Who do you love?
"Myself. No one else will do."
Are you too good for them?
"No, they're too good for me," Saturday answered.
Do you love anyone?
"Why ask again? I told you, it's a mortal invention. Scamandros was right when he said that anyone'd deserve better. Speaking of Scamandros, he'll have a surprise tomorrow as well."
So you're going to fail him?
"Shut up."
In several hours, I'll melt. Scamandros planned the spell well. You'll get rain after half of me assimilates in the Machine, so I won't escape.
"Good for me," Saturday grumped.
Something wrong?
"Everything," she sighed.
Build a snowman, dear. It'll cheer you up.
"As if."
Stop being so moody! It's Christmas!
"I know."
No, seriously. Stop being so moody. You're being both pathetic and annoying. Is it the snow, the coming rain, or are you always like this?
"I don't know," she said wearily.
Something in her pocket vibrated. Saturday pulled it out, groaned, and pressed a button. "Yes, Pravuil?"
"Look, Mistress, I've already arrived!"
"Wonderful."
"Oh, and Merry Christmas!"
He hung up.
Several hours, and I'll be gone…
"Good riddance."
What, are you done kicking me?
"It doesn't do anything."
You used to love snow.
"Snow was always more of Friday's thing. I love umbrellas."
But not the rain.
"Not the rain," Saturday agreed.
So now that you know I can't escape, enjoy the snow while it lasts. How many years has it been since you've built a snowman?
"Since before the Architect left."
Too long, then, the Will concluded. Well, what are you waiting for?
"I don't build snowmen. I'm a Denizen."
That's no excuse. You are what you make yourself.
"Or what others make you," she retorted.
You ARE a product of mine, the Will admitted.
"Of course. Thanks for screwing me up."
You're welcome. Now, are you going to build that snowman or not?
A grin crept across Saturday's face.
Ah, see, you're still in there.
"Who?" she asked, already starting to clump together fistfuls of snow.
The Saturday I knew.
"She never left," the Trustee said. "It's not me who's changed, Will."
No, you have changed, more than you realize. But perhaps not as much as me.
"Not as much as you," Saturday agreed.

When Saturday awoke, the rain was back, and she was soaked through. The remnants of her snowman, already nearly melted, were littered around her, not even recognizable. I fell asleep AGAIN? She stood and stretched. There was a strange stiffness in her limbs that she felt didn't belong. Denizens did not usually get stiff. I bet it's because being around the Will is too stressful to handle, she thought with an ounce of humor.
The Will was silent, hopefully too broken to continue badgering her.
Awake, I see?
Saturday groaned. She could barely hear it, but it was still there. "Yup."
Oh, grumpy. Not a morning person, I see. Neither am I. I always said Saturdays were perfect for sleeping in and staying up late.
"I only have to put up with you for several more minutes, maybe even less," Saturday said.
You sound happy about it. Too happy.
"Don't be… I'm not happy anymore. Just… relieved."
Well, let me say this now, because I may never say this again.
"It's not like I can stop you," Saturday mumbled.
I heard that!
"You were MEANT to!"
Anyway… Merry Christmas, dear.
And for the first time in millennia, Saturday said, "You too. Merry Christmas."
Better tell the other Trustees for me, hmm? Do you all still go over to Wednesday's for Christmas dinner?
"Yes, we do. Sure, I'll tell them."
Down in the dumps again? There IS a guy, isn't there?
"What? No! At least, not romantically. I hate him."
See? I know you. Mother knows best.
"You're not my mother. You're the Architect's Will."
True, but I am the Will of HIS mother."
"You're not suggesting-"
You would have been such a cute couple!
"You're the one who came and wrecked it."
Oh, whatever. Its voice was getting much fainter. Today I've seen you as you used to be, and for that reason, I feel slightly compelled to show you some mercy. I warn you, Saturday, I will be fulfilled.
"Not on my watch."
You don't own a watch.
"You know that's not what I meant!"
I know why you've hesitated to fulfill me. Why do you fear death?
"I don't fear death!" There was no response. Angrily, Saturday repeated, "I don't fear death! I don't, I don't, I don't!" She knew the Will was gone, but she continued anyway. "I am not afraid, and I will not die."
"Of course," said a voice behind her. "Today is about life, not death, and freedom, not fear."
Saturday turned. "Lord Sunday? Why are you down here?"
"It's Christmas. Mother always loved it, so I thought I might as well celebrate it at least once since She's left." He held out a bouquet. "Here. These are for you. I've asked the Sower to pick a Christmas tree for you too, and the Reaper will deliver it later. Now, if you'll excuse me…" He gestured to several bouquets in a cart behind him. "I have to deliver these."
"Is that a bunch of veggies I see there?"
He nodded. "For Wednesday. I figured she'd like it better than flowers. Are we going to see her at Christmas dinner tonight?"
"Yes, I'll probably be there."
He grinned. "See you tonight, then."
"Yes. Um, merry Christmas."
He winked. "You too. Merry Christmas, Saturday."
"It will be," she said. "I promise."
"Good. I hope so."
And despite the deplorable rain, which was fraying on her nerves by the end of the day, several kitchen mishaps at Wednesday's, and Thursday breaking all the bottles of cider, it was.
Hello! This is a Christmas fanfiction I wrote based on Keys to the Kingdom, but I think people who've never read the books would enjoy this nonetheless, which is why I uploaded it here. Please tell me what you think?

And yes, it is a little long.


(Don't) Let It Snow

The Upper House never had a moment of quiet.
For one thing, there was always the grinding and whirring of the tower, as the grease monkeys and other Denizens built, or as the structure rearranged itself. Even if that had been eliminated (though Saturday would never suffer enough to allow that to occur for even a moment), there was always the drizzling rain- always, always, always, never-ceasing, there was the pounding of the rain striking the ground.
When Saturday awoke, it was dead silent.
That immediately banished any and all drowsiness, and she leaped to her feet, sending a roll of records cascading down. She hadn't meant to fall asleep, but she'd pulled several nights without it, and despite being a Denizen, she did have to sleep sometime… not to mention, there had been so much work…
She grabbed the quill pen that was the Sixth Key off the desk and dashed to the window, heartbeat so frantic she could hear it thrumming in her ears. The second she saw the view, she nearly fainted.
It was snowing, drifts already forming, and little piles beginning to amass on the windowsill. Saturday slammed it open and in a half-wrathful, half-panicking gesture, swept the snow off the sill. She gave a little angry squeal and then, because she knew she had to investigate at the bottom floor and it was much easier than walking down the hundred flights of stairs or even using an elevator, she jumped straight down and out of the window.
Landing jarred her a little, and she gritted her teeth, but the pain passed quickly, and as far as she could tell, she wasn't injured. It was a perk of being a Denizen, being able to jump so far as to kill anything else, without mortal injury or even broken bones. Even if she had broken anything, the Key she held in a death grip would have easily set it right, good as new.
She paused to fix a stray strand of hair.
Still vain, I see, said the snow.
"Oh, shut up!" snapped Saturday. "I don't need this right now." She held the nib of the Key against her throat and ordered it, "Key, amplify my voice, please. DENIZENS OF THE UPPER HOUSE!"
There was no answer except a squat, waddling snowman from which the head of some star cataloguer Saturday may have seem once or twice poked out. "Yes, Majesty!" He took another step, and the snow fell off, all around him. "You called?"
"Where is everyone?"
"Day off, Majesty."
"I DIDN'T GIVE ANYONE A DAY OFF!" she spat.
"Um, Majesty, someone asked you about two hundred years ago when their next day off was, and you said, 'When it stops raining.'"
"They remembered?" she scowled. "You- what's your name?"
"Pravuil, Majesty."
"Okay, Pravuil- what are you doing here if everyone's having a day off?"
"Playing in the snow, Majesty."
"What a ridiculous notion," Saturday sniffed. "Playing."
Try it sometime. All that grump is going to give you an ulcer someday. What a shame.
"Will you SHUT UP?" she yelled.
"I didn't say anything," Pravuil replied, confused.
"Not you!"
"Then who?"
She bit her lip. Upper House Denizens were not supposed to know where she had hidden the Will- the rain- or who it could talk to- her and the Rightful Heir. Separating the Will into the individual raindrops both killed its mortifyingly annoying chatter and any chance someone undesirable would find it- namely, anyone other than one of the Trustees, including this Pravuil character, who she concluded had slightly below-average intelligence.
"Um, Majesty, who were you talking to?" Pravuil repeated.
Saturday had no response, so she took one of Sunday's favorite one-liners, which he constantly threw at her when she asked him what in the House he did all day. "My actions are too lofty for one such as yourself to ascertain."
"Oh." Pravuil seemed slightly disappointed. What, did he really think I'd just outright tell him everything?
"Anyway," she sighed, "do you know how this snow got here?"
Don't you believe in miracles? The Will asked.
Saturday kicked a snow drift in response.
That won't work, Trustee. Now that it's snowing, I'm EVERYWHERE.
"Oh, goody. How did this happen?" she seethed. There was a chance- slim though it was- that the Will could escape if enough snow was gathered in one place. Even if she melted the snow, the Will could easily collect itself in the resulting puddles. Unless she could make the rain fall up and then down again, perhaps simultaneously in some sort of circuit, until she could get this sorted out…
"Oh! You mean how it started snowing?" Pravuil asked, interrupting her train of thought.
"Yes! What else would I be talking about?"
"Well, a star died last night. It was pretty spec-"
Saturday groaned and muttered something akin to 'Stupid ordinary-grade Denizens' under her breath. Then, louder, she snapped, "I couldn't care less about some star that blew up last night! I want to know why it's snowing and not raining!"
I like snow. It's quite nice, said the Will.
"AAARGH!" She kicked another snow drift, but tripped and landed face-first in a large pile, the white, feathery stuff tickling her cheeks and nose.
Clumsy much?
Saturday sneezed and stood up. "Pravuil! If you know ANYTHING about this at all, I'm ordering you to spill it now!"
He winced. Definitely knows something, Saturday decided.
"Ah, Majesty, it goes like this…"

*** THE PREVIOUS NIGHT ***

"What a beautiful death," Pravuil sighed. "Of all the stars I've seen…" He grinned. "There is, of course, a more beautiful one." He looked up. Somewhere above him, his Most Venerable Mistress was running the House, keeping the Universe perfectly catalogued and recorded. She even- bless her- lent a helping hand to fix it for the better, helping the poor mortals and other inhabitants realize their true potentials. It was quite rude of everyone else to call this 'interfering.' She was 'intermediating' to make them see what the Architect truly had planned for them.
Yes, his mistress had to be the best thing to ever deem stepping foot in the House.
"Pravuil? Pravuil? You're hopeless," said his boss Aylin. "Quit daydreaming and get back to cataloguing!"
Pravuil groaned. Aylin didn't like him. She called him a 'near-mortal emotional wreck,' a 'useless idiot with his head in the nova clouds,' and a 'lovesick excuse for a sentient organism.' Pravuil was certain she got the last line from a book or play, because he doubted Aylin knew what love was. Come to think of it, he didn't quite know either.
He complied, however, and turned back to cataloguing. Then a thought struck him as he remembered a particular star that came several hundred years ago, on this same night. "Aren't the mortals celebrating Christmas this time of year?" he asked.
"Yes, they are," Aylin scoffed. "The Far Reaches has some sort of Santa character they send out yearly. It makes for hectic records. Luckily, it has nothing to do with stars, but I pity the poor fools stuck in the Denizen-Mortal Relations Department."
"I didn't think Grim Tuesday was the kind of person who'd give millions of mortal children presents," Pravuil said.
"The Architect instated Santa centuries ago, as part of the festivities. She was quite fond of Christmas, from what I understand. Anyway, if the Grim were to get rid of him, he'd have terrible sorcerous complications and retributions."
"Why doesn't Santa visit the Trustees?"
"How should I know?"
"Well, maybe Her Excellency Superior Saturday would like a present," Pravuil suggested.
"Don't be ridiculous!" Aylin snorted. "Denizens have no need of such things as 'presents.' What would you get her anyway?"
"I don't know," Pravuil admitted. The rain splashed against his umbrella, and he was reminded both how jealous he was of the higher-ups in the tower who got actual roofs and walls, and how much he hated the constant deluge. He wasn't alone. He was certain he'd heard Saturday on the phone complaining to Duchess Wednesday of the Border Sea, her best friend in the Universe, about it. He hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but he had just been walking past and 'overheard' their conversation, and then conveniently slowed to a stop in a suitable hiding place.
Duchess Wednesday expressed her concerns for "how the rain is affecting your temperament, m'dear," and then some sort of meeting to discuss somebody's Will, but by then Aylin had grabbed Pravuil's ears and yanked him away from the telephone booth, dragging him all the way back to his desk. But he knew all he needed. Saturday loathed the rain.
Now, trying to come up with a present, the memory of hearing her confess it sprang to the forefront of his mind.
Pravuil jumped to his feet. "Aylin!"
Her scowl, which was near-permanent, deepened. "What, Pravuil?"
"Could you take me to the Weather Machine?"
Aylin looked like she'd rather hug one of the Old One's insane, giggling mechanical puppet-torturers than go ANYWHERE with Pravuil. "But… it's broken."
"I know."
"It's been broken for nigh on four thousand years," Aylin added.
"I know."
"You STILL want to go?"
"Yup! Um, it's quiet, so I thought I could concentrate better and catch up on some work."
"Work here."
"But I really think I'd do better there."
"Whatever." Aylin shrugged and turned back to her work.
"Will you show me?"
"Get there yourself."
"Rude," he muttered.
Aylin looked up. "What was that?"
"Nothing." Pravuil kept quiet and finished recording some details about the birth of a large star that he felt was exceptionally 'special,' another concept he didn't quite understand but felt was nice. Once his shift ended, he grabbed his umbrella and ran off. It took him fifteen tries to find a Denizen who knew how to get to the Weather Machine, and several hours to actually reach it.
It was, it turned out, at the top of the tower, above Saturday's private chambers. He had run into Noon, who always scared him, but he babbled some excuse about needing a telescope to check a particular star, acting much stupider than he really was.
Thus, he reached the Weather Machine without incident.
"Crap," he said, the second he saw it.
For one thing, it was huge. It completely dwarfed him. He immediately wondered why in the House he thought he could fix it. Sitting down, with his back against it, he sighed and closed his eyes. When he opened them, a bespectacled Denizen with far too many moving tattoos was staring at him.
"AAH!" screamed Pravuil.
"AAH!" screamed the Denizen.
"What are you doing here?" asked Pravuil.
"What are you doing here?" asked the Denizen.
"You first."
"No, you."
"NO, you first."
"No, I insist. Really. You go first."
"You go first or… or… or I'll blast you!" Pravuil threatened, waving his umbrella menacingly.
"No, you won't," sighed the Denizen, adjusting his spectacles. "The name's Scamandros. I have a final tomorrow, and I couldn't concentrate with all the noise, so I thought I'd come up here, since only her Majesty comes up here, and even she rarely deems to check on this."
"I'm Pravuil. I thought I'd fix the Weather Machine," he replied.
"Why?"
"As a present," Pravuil grinned, but it was gone as soon as he looked at it again. "Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do."
"Did you try kicking it?" suggested Scamandros sagely.
"No."
"Well, kick it."
Pravuil nodded, drew back his foot, and kicked it. A metallic thrum reverberated around him as he clutched his foot. "Oow oww owww," he moaned. "Is it fixed?"
Scamandros peered at it. "Um, my observations say no."
"Perfect!" Pravuil threw his hands up into the air. "I give up!"
"But you've barely tried anything," Scamandros protested.
"I'm a Denizen. We don't try. We don't act special. We don't get presents. We don't do anything but work. We don't even love."
"Maybe we don't do those things, but that doesn't mean it's because we're Denizens. We could learn, Pravuil. Learn to try, or give presents, or even love."
"That sounds nice, though," Pravuil grumped, "and the House isn't nice."
"Let me take a look," Scamandros said gently, probably sensing how upset and disappointed Pravuil was.
"But you have a final to study for!" Pravuil said. "I would feel terrible getting in the way."
"Oh, don't worry. It's my pleasure," Scamandros waved off. "I guess you could say I'm trying to prove a point."
"What point?"
"That Denizens can be nice, and they can try." Scamandros opened his umbrella and tapped the Weather Machine, still talking. "Just because everyone you know is a scumbag doesn't mean the whole House is. You mentioned a present. Who's the lucky lady?"
Pravuil blushed. "How did you know?"
"Who else would it be for? You're out of the ordinary, Pravuil, and that's a good thing. If she doesn't realize it…"
"She doesn't exactly know I exist," Pravuil admitted. "I guess you could call me a secret admirer."
"Ah." Scamandros was now beginning a complicated spell. "This isn't broken, Pravuil. It's been sabotaged and then fixed with the Seventh Key just enough to allow only the rain- I suppose Lord Sunday has decided he'd like the Upper House permanently wet. It makes me wonder who broke it, but… Anyway, the rain is fixed. I can't stop it. But I CAN change its form for a little bit- freeze it as it falls, and make snow. Temporarily, of course."
"Anything. She hates the rain. I heard her say it," Pravuil divulged.
"I used to like a girl," Scamandros said, drawing with some sort of strange orange ink on the Weather Machine.
"Who?"
"Oh, she drowned," Scamandros said matter-of-factly. "She was a Navigator-Sorcerer, and things… didn't work out for her ship. Tell me the name of yours. I might know her."
"Well, you know of her, that's for sure. It's… well… I like Saturday."
Scamandros dropped to the floor. Pravuil thought it was because he needed to draw something on the bottom of the Machine, but realized he was laughing. "What's so funny?"
"Oh, Pravuil… why her? She's a touchy, cantankerous, wouldn't-give-you-the-time-of-day sort of superior Denizen. You deserve better."
"I do?"
"Of course. Like I said, you're a special guy, Pravuil. And not to speak ill of Her Majesty, but, quite frankly, anyone'd deserve better." Scamandros finished the writing with a low, sweeping flourish, and the words began to swim and crawl over the surface of the Machine. "There. Snow. It should start any second now. She'll have a surprise tomorrow."

"Oh, I've had a surprise, all right," Saturday hissed.
You don't like it? Pity.
"If you escape…" Saturday said through gritted teeth.
"I'm not going anywhere!" Pravuil exclaimed.
"Not- oh, forget it. Twenty-four hours, you said it'd last?"
"Yes. Does it make you feel happy?"
Saturday hadn't felt happy in millennia, and a little white fluff on the ground with the Will in it wasn't going to foot the bill. But she could use loyalty like Pravuil's, even if she did have to make an example of him so that others wouldn't decide to mess or tinker with the Machine.
"Indeed. It's quite nice. Unfortunately," she began, ready to lie through her teeth, "Lord Sunday has expressly ordered me not to change the weather whatsoever. I'm afraid the punishment is a transfer to the Coal Cellar."
Wow. What an obvious lie.
"But-but-but" Pravuil stuttered.
For the first time in… well, ever… Saturday almost felt sorry for someone. Almost. Not quite enough to stop her from sending him to the Lower House, though. She did, however, reach into her pocket and pull out a long, clearly transdimensional pouch. "Here. You'll find several useful items in here, as well as a button. Push it if you need to tell me anything important- IMPORTANT, mind you. I don't want to hear anything about stars or coal or whatever. Now, I suggest you get in an elevator. Um, now."
She waved. "Now," she repeated, when he didn't move. He was crying. She could tell. "Pravuil…" she sighed. "Okay, how about this… if you see the Rightful Heir and can prove yourself a worthy servant, I'll let you back."
"That's not a real hope!" protested Pravuil.
That's not a very real hope, though I loathe to admit it, protested the Will.
"But it's a hope," Saturday said, a bit too cheerily.
"I will prove myself!" Pravuil declared. "I will be your finest servant!" Then he handed her his umbrella and began to shuffle away.
What devoted love. Either he's blind or willing to look past all your faults, the Will said.
"Mortal inventions have no place in the house," Saturday retorted. "Love included. You told me that yourself."
Ah, my friend, you are both my first creation and my first failure, the Will lamented. I may have accidentally screwed your life.
"Now you notice?" Saturday said, kicking the snow yet again for good measure, even though she knew it didn't do anything.
Who do you love?
"Myself. No one else will do."
Are you too good for them?
"No, they're too good for me," Saturday answered.
Do you love anyone?
"Why ask again? I told you, it's a mortal invention. Scamandros was right when he said that anyone'd deserve better. Speaking of Scamandros, he'll have a surprise tomorrow as well."
So you're going to fail him?
"Shut up."
In several hours, I'll melt. Scamandros planned the spell well. You'll get rain after half of me assimilates in the Machine, so I won't escape.
"Good for me," Saturday grumped.
Something wrong?
"Everything," she sighed.
Build a snowman, dear. It'll cheer you up.
"As if."
Stop being so moody! It's Christmas!
"I know."
No, seriously. Stop being so moody. You're being both pathetic and annoying. Is it the snow, the coming rain, or are you always like this?
"I don't know," she said wearily.
Something in her pocket vibrated. Saturday pulled it out, groaned, and pressed a button. "Yes, Pravuil?"
"Look, Mistress, I've already arrived!"
"Wonderful."
"Oh, and Merry Christmas!"
He hung up.
Several hours, and I'll be gone…
"Good riddance."
What, are you done kicking me?
"It doesn't do anything."
You used to love snow.
"Snow was always more of Friday's thing. I love umbrellas."
But not the rain.
"Not the rain," Saturday agreed.
So now that you know I can't escape, enjoy the snow while it lasts. How many years has it been since you've built a snowman?
"Since before the Architect left."
Too long, then, the Will concluded. Well, what are you waiting for?
"I don't build snowmen. I'm a Denizen."
That's no excuse. You are what you make yourself.
"Or what others make you," she retorted.
You ARE a product of mine, the Will admitted.
"Of course. Thanks for screwing me up."
You're welcome. Now, are you going to build that snowman or not?
A grin crept across Saturday's face.
Ah, see, you're still in there.
"Who?" she asked, already starting to clump together fistfuls of snow.
The Saturday I knew.
"She never left," the Trustee said. "It's not me who's changed, Will."
No, you have changed, more than you realize. But perhaps not as much as me.
"Not as much as you," Saturday agreed.

When Saturday awoke, the rain was back, and she was soaked through. The remnants of her snowman, already nearly melted, were littered around her, not even recognizable. I fell asleep AGAIN? She stood and stretched. There was a strange stiffness in her limbs that she felt didn't belong. Denizens did not usually get stiff. I bet it's because being around the Will is too stressful to handle, she thought with an ounce of humor.
The Will was silent, hopefully too broken to continue badgering her.
Awake, I see?
Saturday groaned. She could barely hear it, but it was still there. "Yup."
Oh, grumpy. Not a morning person, I see. Neither am I. I always said Saturdays were perfect for sleeping in and staying up late.
"I only have to put up with you for several more minutes, maybe even less," Saturday said.
You sound happy about it. Too happy.
"Don't be… I'm not happy anymore. Just… relieved."
Well, let me say this now, because I may never say this again.
"It's not like I can stop you," Saturday mumbled.
I heard that!
"You were MEANT to!"
Anyway… Merry Christmas, dear.
And for the first time in millennia, Saturday said, "You too. Merry Christmas."
Better tell the other Trustees for me, hmm? Do you all still go over to Wednesday's for Christmas dinner?
"Yes, we do. Sure, I'll tell them."
Down in the dumps again? There IS a guy, isn't there?
"What? No! At least, not romantically. I hate him."
See? I know you. Mother knows best.
"You're not my mother. You're the Architect's Will."
True, but I am the Will of HIS mother."
"You're not suggesting-"
You would have been such a cute couple!
"You're the one who came and wrecked it."
Oh, whatever. Its voice was getting much fainter. Today I've seen you as you used to be, and for that reason, I feel slightly compelled to show you some mercy. I warn you, Saturday, I will be fulfilled.
"Not on my watch."
You don't own a watch.
"You know that's not what I meant!"
I know why you've hesitated to fulfill me. Why do you fear death?
"I don't fear death!" There was no response. Angrily, Saturday repeated, "I don't fear death! I don't, I don't, I don't!" She knew the Will was gone, but she continued anyway. "I am not afraid, and I will not die."
"Of course," said a voice behind her. "Today is about life, not death, and freedom, not fear."
Saturday turned. "Lord Sunday? Why are you down here?"
"It's Christmas. Mother always loved it, so I thought I might as well celebrate it at least once since She's left." He held out a bouquet. "Here. These are for you. I've asked the Sower to pick a Christmas tree for you too, and the Reaper will deliver it later. Now, if you'll excuse me…" He gestured to several bouquets in a cart behind him. "I have to deliver these."
"Is that a bunch of veggies I see there?"
He nodded. "For Wednesday. I figured she'd like it better than flowers. Are we going to see her at Christmas dinner tonight?"
"Yes, I'll probably be there."
He grinned. "See you tonight, then."
"Yes. Um, merry Christmas."
He winked. "You too. Merry Christmas, Saturday."
"It will be," she said. "I promise."
"Good. I hope so."
And despite the deplorable rain, which was fraying on her nerves by the end of the day, several kitchen mishaps at Wednesday's, and Thursday breaking all the bottles of cider, it was.
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(edited by Dragonlord Stephi on 12-19-13 10:45 PM)     Post Rating: 2   Liked By: Mr. Zed, sonic23,

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12-22-13 01:50 AM
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Dragonlord Stephi : Cool Christmas story .. only thing is that there was a SOMEWHAT ( Gosh I love that word ) happy ending ... I still don't understand the whole structure of the house thing but I's get the main points . Poor lil guy has a crush on the Queen ... tries to make her happy .. but she makes him cry ... Life Is Cruel fellah . BUT he did have some success .. somewhat .. she DID say Merry Christmas .. and did have A MERRY Christmas .. good on ya Pruvail ( sorry I can't rmeber the names of those in ur stories more ) . NICE JOB . 
Dragonlord Stephi : Cool Christmas story .. only thing is that there was a SOMEWHAT ( Gosh I love that word ) happy ending ... I still don't understand the whole structure of the house thing but I's get the main points . Poor lil guy has a crush on the Queen ... tries to make her happy .. but she makes him cry ... Life Is Cruel fellah . BUT he did have some success .. somewhat .. she DID say Merry Christmas .. and did have A MERRY Christmas .. good on ya Pruvail ( sorry I can't rmeber the names of those in ur stories more ) . NICE JOB . 
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12-22-13 12:52 PM
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Mr. Zed : Yeah, Pravuil did have a success. If it makes you feel better, he gets his job back after the first book Mister Monday. A lot of people were theorizing why he was in the Coal Cellar, and this was just my theory. 

Yay for character development! Saturday becomes less of a jerk.
Mr. Zed : Yeah, Pravuil did have a success. If it makes you feel better, he gets his job back after the first book Mister Monday. A lot of people were theorizing why he was in the Coal Cellar, and this was just my theory. 

Yay for character development! Saturday becomes less of a jerk.
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Dragonlord Stephi : Yeah Saturday IS less of a jerk ... somewhat ( ha did it again ) ... I bet she at least tries to be almost kinda less saddned by rain now .. maybe ? And what happened to the guy that fixed the Weather Machine ? Is HE still in troulbe ? 
Dragonlord Stephi : Yeah Saturday IS less of a jerk ... somewhat ( ha did it again ) ... I bet she at least tries to be almost kinda less saddned by rain now .. maybe ? And what happened to the guy that fixed the Weather Machine ? Is HE still in troulbe ? 
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Well, it was a good story! ^-^ Saturday is less of a jerk!
Well, it was a good story! ^-^ Saturday is less of a jerk!
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12-25-13 06:24 PM
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A user of this : Sorry I didn't see this earlier (Merry Christmas, by the way). Yes, she is less of a jerk. I'm glad you liked it!
A user of this : Sorry I didn't see this earlier (Merry Christmas, by the way). Yes, she is less of a jerk. I'm glad you liked it!
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