I’ll BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
featuring the cast of Arañ
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Written by:
JUSTIN SANTOS


Rockefeller Center—Midtown Manhattan, New York

As usual with this festive time of the year we find a tall tree placed in Rockefeller Center just by where many New Yorkers come to ice skate during the winter months. The tree lit up the night sky with its near 30,000 lights and was a beautiful sight to see. Amongst the crowds of people stood two individuals, one a female with blonde hair and the other a male with brown. This was Felicia Hardy and Lucas Garcia.

“Lucas, come on!” exclaimed Felicia. “I want to skate with you. Do you not know how to?”

“I do,” said Lucas.

Felicia threw her arms out from her sides, “Then come on! Anya and Harry are out there having the time of their life and I want that to be us. What are you afraid you’ll melt the ice?”

Lucas laughed, “Actually, yeah. I’m my own heat source. I can’t even drive during winter because my side of the car always gets fogged up…”

“You may be hot stuff but that doesn’t mean you can go without a jacket,” Felicia began to lecture him. “You can still catch pneumonia. It’s a known fact that your skin freezes a fifteen below zero.*”

*Don’t know if my facts are correct, it’s been awhile since I lived up in Massachusetts—Justin.

“Oh, yeah?” he had a wild smirk on his face. “And what happens when a guy tries to kiss his girlfriend on the lips at fifteen below zero?”

“He looks for a new girlfriend…,” she laughed back at him.

On the ice Anya skates with Harry while holding hands. She looked back to him and laughed at the sight of him trying to focus on skating.

“You’re doing fine don’t worry,” she said. “I told you it wouldn’t be too bad.”

“I’m still not entirely…sure about this,” he muttered as he nearly lost his balance.

Anya looked ahead, “Just relax and you’ll keep it under control.”

Felicia waved at the two as they passed them.

“Good to see they’re finally back on track,” said Harry referring to Felicia and Lucas. “I wonder why they’re not on the ice with us.”

“I don’t know. Felicia was missing for awhile. They’re probably just trying to make up for lost time. So are you coming to Felicia’s Christmas party?”

Harry slowly but surely starts to get a hold of skating on ice. “Yeah, although I might be a little late… Ol’ Stormin’ Norman is paying a visit. I bet he’ll just spend most of his time talking with Peter. He probably wouldn’t even notice if I was home.”

“Oh Harry, give him a chance,” she let go of his hand and started skating backwards. “He seems to be really trying to spend some time with you. Maybe he’s trying to change.”

“Anya, behind you!”

Anya was skating backwards and couldn’t see the person behind her coming closer. Her head buzzed and she slid to the right dodging the person easily. Then her head buzzed once more warning her of another oncoming person. She jumped into a spiral spin and dodged yet again. Harry was surprised by this.

“Hmph…,” Lucas made a noise that made Felicia raise an eyebrow.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

“She’s showing off for him,” he replied. “It’s so obvious.”

“What does it matter? You’re supposed to be giving me your full attention.”

Lucas turned to Felicia, “You got it babe.”

Elsewhere in Manhattan

Somewhere else in the city we find ourselves inside a local electronics store that has closed for the night. Everything is quiet until a man walked in from the back room dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.

“There we shouldn’t have any problems anymore,” said the man.

He was then followed by a female dressed in a less appropriate Santa outfit, minus the beard.

“So my little helper what should we take first?” asked the man.

The woman looked around and said, “There’s a lot of good stuff in here. Will we be able to get it all in the truck? Let’s go for the big screen first.”

As the two thieves worked together on pulling the big screen television out the back a voice came seemingly out of nowhere, “You know its people like you that give mall Santas a bad name. I mean seriously those guys creep me out.”

“Who said that?” asked the man dressed as Santa Claus.

The two of them appeared alone. The female watched as her Santa counterpart was hit across the face by an unseen force. ‘Santa’ staggered back a bit and held his face.

“What the hell?” he said.

“Consider that an early Christmas present from the one and only Sensational Ant-Man,” called the mysterious voice before out of nowhere a small figure appeared, barely a couple inches tall.

Ant-Man grew to normal size surprising the two thieves. The female thief ran for the back door, while the other one attempted to follow but was knocked off his feet by Ant-Man. The woman raced off the back dock and jumped into their van.

“They said the supers wouldn’t get involved,” she said as she drove off.

As she drove an orange ball rolled in front of the van. She could see the ball had a flashing yellow light and when she finally approached it, it exploded taking out the front of the van. A few moments later she lifted her head from the steering wheel.

“Huh?” she muttered. “What was that?”

Another figure appeared, this one wearing green armor. He floated down from above on a metallic board of some kind.

“And I would be the Goblin,” he said. “Your very own nightmare before Christmas…hmm need to work on some Christmas puns.”

The woman screamed and slammed her foot on the gas pedal.

“Sorry, your whole engine is totaled. And for good measure I slashed your tires, so you won’t be going anywhere. You Santa-thieves are really getting on my nerves. What moron starts their own Santa-themed criminal ring?”

The van’s door opened and the woman ran out but two cables shot out of the Goblin’s glider and wrapped themselves around her.

Goblin sighed, “I said you weren’t going anywhere.”

Minutes Later

The police escorted the two thieves to their squad cars and slammed the door behind them once they were seated. Goblin and Ant-Man stood over head.

“Hmm…this is really getting ridiculous,” said Goblin.

Ant-Man turned away, “You’re telling me.”

“So…Lynn and Nicolas are gonna be at Felicia’s party tonight. You coming?”

“No. No I’m not.”

Ant-Man walked forward. Goblin simply shook his head as his glider appeared before him.

“I understand why you’re doing this,” Goblin hopped onto his glider. “But Mike its Christmas and you should be with your kid. Lucas may have given up on you but that’s not how I do things.”

“Even if I wanted to I don’t think I’d be welcome,” Ant-Man pulled off his helmet and took a deep breathe which was shown by the cold air blowing from his mouth. “Popping in one day won’t make a difference. I don’t blame Lucas for giving up on me.”

“Look I’ve respected the whole superhero secret identity thing but this is going overboard. I haven’t told anyone about this, maybe I should. If that’s what I have to do to get your dumb ass to come home. I bet you don’t even know that Lucas is Llamarado.”

Mike appeared shocked, “The Wasp Hunter?”

“He’s been risking his life day in and day out, and to top it off he’s been coming home to raise your kid. You don’t even know that everyone close to your son is tangled in the web that is the superhuman community. Now my costume’s heating systems are giving out on me so I’m going to meet up with Armory for repairs. Oh, by the way she knows your son to. Merry Christmas.”

Goblin flew off leaving Ant-Man alone. He dropped his head, “Yeah, Merry Christmas.”

Apartment of Anya Corazon & Felicia Hardy

All of Anya and Felicia’s friends were here enjoying the party. Felicia and Lucas were talking to someone while Anya walked to the apartment door wearing a Santa hat. She opened the door and found Lynn and her son Nicolas standing.

“Auntie Anya!” exclaimed the four-year-old Nicolas who jumped into her arms when she bent down to him.

“There’s my little man!” She poked him in the forehead, something her mother used to do to her. “You know you shouldn’t be up. Santa’s coming to town tonight. And he only brings presents to kids who are sleeping.”

“I know but mom said we were spending the night here,” he said.

“That’s right you are,” she smiled. “And we’re gonna have a great Christmas together. Now go say good night to your Uncle Lucas and its off to bed for you.”

“Okay.”

“Anya, I can’t thank you enough for doing this,” said Lynn. “It wasn’t gonna be a good Christmas for us.”

Anya patted Lynn’s nearest arm, “It’s no problem. You’re one of my best friends* and Nicolas is my godson after all. Come in and join the party. I bet you could use sometime to just kick back and have some fun. Now you and Nick are staying in my room. And before you say anything its no problem. I’m gonna stay in the living room with Harry. Oh and Lucas is gonna stay as well in Felicia’s room…insert dirty thoughts here.”

*Lynn in fact is Anya’s best friend, she’s a real character that appears in the 616 series—Justin.

Lucas held his nephew in his arms and walked passed the two of them, “Glad you two could come. I’m gonna put shorty to sleep and then I’ll be back to join you.”

“Night sweetie,” Lynn kissed her son good night.

“Are we gonna leave milk and cookies for Santa?” asked Nicolas to Lucas.

“You bet we are.”

“Lynn, what do you want to drink?” asked Felicia.

“Preferably something non-alcoholic,” Lynn answered.

“Buzz kill…come on try my egg nog.”

“Eww…egg nog… You guys are so good with Nick. You two were the right choices for godparents.”

Lynn got herself a bottle of water. Rome entered the apartment.

“Romeo, you’re late,” said Felicia.

“Sorry you have no idea what a crazy night its been,” he said. “But I still have enough time to deck the halls with you guys. Where’d you get all the alcohol from? You’re not old enough to buy yet.”

“I’m the daughter of Manhattan’s mayor.” Felicia gestured for him to get some. “I have connections.”

“And we don’t have to worry about the police?”

Anya laughed, “I bet they’re just waiting for you to take that first sip. And then they’ll come out of the woodwork, handcuffing anyone in sight. Come on Rome you know the NYPD couldn’t catch a common street hood.”

“Well, in that case toss me one of those bad boys.”

“Now if only I could get Lucas to try some,” said Felicia.

“Never gonna happen,” Lucas reentered the room. “You know it’s against my beliefs.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Felicia sighed.

“So are we gonna give out our gifts or what?” asked Lucas. “Let’s see who’s whose secret Santa.”

Everyone agreed to move on to opening gifts. They all gathered around and started exchanging them. No one paid attention to the door opening.

“So this is some party, huh?” everyone turned to see Mike standing in the doorway.

Some appeared shocked while others had facial expressions that said “Oh, shit!” Lynn didn’t even bother to express anything. She simply walked off toward Anya’s room. Lucas stepped forward but he was held back by Anya.

“Don’t say anything,” she said. “Mike, I don’t think you should be here.”

“I know I know…” he said. “I’m sure there are a lot of people unhappy with me. Am I right Lucas? There’s nothing I can do about it. I did something terrible. I turned my back on my family. I can’t fix the past but I change the way the future will turn out.”

“Like I haven’t heard that line before,” stated Lucas becoming more and more angered.

Rome put a hand on his shoulder, “Luc, man I know you’ve been through a lot with your own dad but Mike isn’t like him. We have to give him a chance. Besides it’s not up to us.”

Lucas closed his eyes. “Fine, do whatever you want. Just don’t expect me to clean up your messes anymore. It’s time you learn to step up and be a man.”

“Let me talk with Lynn,” said Anya. “This is gonna be hard for her. Please understand.”

Anya went and talked with Lynn. It took sometime and some tears but she managed to convince her to let Mike see his son. Everyone else enjoyed the party as if nothing had happened. The next day Nicolas would run to the Christmas tree where his aunt and uncle sat together. The two of them smiled at the little boy. It was then when he was lifted off the floor by his dad.

“Dad?” Nicolas was surprised.

“Yeah, Nick, dad’s home for Christmas,” said Mike.

Mike carried his son away from the tree.

Anya looked at Lucas. “You’re taking this well.”

“I’m sure everything will turn out okay,” Lucas looked to his left to see Felicia crashing down next to him on the sofa. “Damn babe you look like crap.”

“I feel like crap too,” she said barely able to open her eyes.

“Guess you shouldn’t have drank so much,” he said.

Anya got up, dropped down next to her and gave her a hug. “Merry Christmas, Felicia!”

“Oh god must you people speak so loudly?” Felicia held her ears while Anya and Lucas laughed.

Merry Christmas! From Justin Santos.