Summary: A Total Drama fanfic. After accidentally putting Kris Kringle in traction, Cody is charged with delivering all the remaining presents in Canada! Fortunately, another accident lands him some help part-way through his run. Cody/Gwen, some Duncan/Gwen.
Cody emerged back up the chimney a few minutes lateragain as a bizarre dissolved mess that somehow resolidified before Gwen and Kevin's eyesand again offered to take them through the house to get home. They turned him down, again. All three got back in the sleigh and Cody explained to Prancer, very clearly, that he needed to fly them back to their house, giving a detailed description and address to make sure the animal got the right idea.
Prancer didn't give a stirring mouse's butt, calmly flying them over to the house right next door. And the process repeated itself.
And it repeated itself again at the next house. And the next house. And the next house. And the next
After about an houror two, or three, or four, because due to the monotony or Christmas magic or whatever it was impossible for Gwen to keep track of how much outside-of-time was passingthey were in the middle of Toronto, flying from one apartment building to the next. Gwen watched as they landed and a chimney formed itself on top of the empty rooftop; she had seen that happen so many times already that it had pretty much lost its novelty.
Cody used the Destirinator from the front seat of the sleigh, then paused, his shoulders slumped, a hangdog expression on his face. He turned to Gwen and Kevin.
"So wanna come with me on this one?"
It was the first time any of them had spoken in a long while, however much timeless time had passed. He had long since given up asking them if they wanted to take the "out the front door" option, as far away as they were from their house by now anyway. Gwen noticed he didn't even bring that up now, and that his voice was flat and tired; he wanted them to say yes, but he clearly didn't expect them to.
Both siblings shook their heads, not even looking up. Cody sighed, slumped in his seat again, and then slid out of the sleigh. Without a word he trudged to the back, pulled out the bag and disappeared down the chimney.
The siblings were looking away from each other silently. After about a minute, Kevin spoke.
"It's looking less and less likely that we're gonna wake up from this, isn't it?"
Gwen sighed, nodding. She turned, but her gaze went past her brother to the chimney a few feet away.
"We're a long way from home now," she muttered.
"For real." Gwen sensed he meant those words rather literally.
Silence fell again for the next several minutes.
"It's taking him a long time."
"It always takes him a long time."
"Especially in apartment buildings. I guess he goes down there and does every single apartment at once?"
Gwen paused, thinking about the way Cody had slumped off when he left.
"It must suck for him. You know, going down there, doing all that work."
Kevin scoffed. "It ain't exactly a party up here waiting, either."
Neither of them talked again until Cody emerged from the chimney fifteen minutes later. He staggered a bit as he walked; Gwen rose a little in her seat, frowning.
"You okay, Cody? You look a little pale."
"Ugh yeah," he said, grabbing the side of the sleigh to steady himself. "I sorta, er got sick down there."
"I have eaten, quite possibly literally, ten thousand cookies in the last couple of hours." Cody suddenly bent lower, moaning again. "Let's say I left more than crumbs at the last house. I hope nobody notices the stain on the rug "
Kevin made a face. Gwen did too, but after a moment forced herself to pat Cody's arm. He smiled thankfully before straightening up and climbing back into the front seat.
Prancer flew another building over, and Cody gave yet another zap of the Destirinator before reaching out to grab his list. A familiar name caught his eye, making his eyebrows shoot up.
"Oh, hey I think we're at Leshawna's place."
"Huh? !" Gwen said, shuffling over and looking over his shoulder. "Really?"
"Yeah, I think so. See, here, near the top'Edwards, comma, Leshawna' well, I guess we'll wind up at everybody we know's house eventually," he said wryly, rolling his eyes. "Well unless they live east of here. Or are Jewish "
Gwen was silent for a moment. "Hey, Cody? Could I, um " Cody turned to her, which only made her feel more sheepish. "Can I come down with you, for this one?"
"You wanna come?" Cody's eyebrows shot up; so did Kevin's, though the reaction from him seems far less excited.
"Wellum, uh, sure!" A huge smile crossed his face, only to fall a moment later. "Butyou realize you won't actually get to see Leshawna, right? You know, she'll be 'snuggled all tight in her bed' and everything?"
"Yeah, I know, but " Gwen shrugged, unsure how to finish that statement. "I dunno. It'd just be pretty cool, ya know? Helping set everything up for someone I actually know, or something."
"Okay, sure, then!" Gwen had to smile a little at Cody's enthusiasmshe got the feeling he must have been pretty lonely on all those trips down the chimney himself. She turned to Kevin, who was watching her with an odd look in his eye.
"You coming, Kev?"
"Erno thanks. I'll stay up here," he said slowly, looking away.
"Yeah, it's fine."
"Well...if you insist "
Cody and Gwen climbed out of the sleigh, trekking over to the incongruous chimney. Gwen felt excitedand nervous. The trip down probably wasn't going to be fun. As for the actual job, she wasn't sure</B>
Her thought was suddenly cut off as Cody reached over and grabbed her hand. She jumped and pulled away from him.
Cody blinked. "Huh? UmGwen, I sort of need toyou know, the Christmas magic thing won't really work for you?" he said sheepishly, scratching the back of his velvet hat.
"Wha ?" Gwen suddenly felt stupid. That made senseafter all, that was how she had managed to follow him up the chimney in the first place. Embarrassed, she put her hand back down, allowing him to take it again. "Sorry."
"Not a problem," he said quickly. Gwen guessed that wasn't quite as true as he let on. "Anyway, you ready?"
"I guess." Her fingers unconsciously tightened around his, the claustrophobic memory of her last ride catching up.
"On the count of three, okay? One two three!"
He quickly put the index finger of his free hand beside his nose and nodded. He and Gwen, still holding hands, dematerialized together and vanished down the chimney.
Back at the sleigh, Kevin grimaced as he watched them disappear.
The ride was actually less bumpy than Gwen expected, and only lasted a secondthe next thing she knew she was standing in a living room she had seen several times before, this time with a Christmas tree in one corner and decorations on the mantle. Gwen blinked, breath caught in her throat.
"Huh wow. It really worked," she said, surprised by her own surprise; maybe it was just the dissipating tension, but somehow she hadn't expected this to actually be real.
"Yeah. Heh this whole thing is pretty amazing, isn't it?" Cody admitted.
"Yeah. Honestly, I'm still sort of wondering if any of it is even real or"
She stopped when she saw Cody's face, and followed his gaze down to their hands, which were still clasped together between them. Gwen's eyes widened for a moment and she quickly withdrew hers, stuffing it into the pocket of her jacket. Cody laughed softly.
"Well, I didn't want to break us up until I was sure you were done."
"Ha, ha." Gwen looked away, eyes settling on the tree. "So what do we do now, just put the stuff under the tree?"
"Tree and stockings, that's about it. And ugh, that."
He pointed with a shaking finger to the plate and glass sitting on Leshawna's coffee table. Gwen scoffed and rolled her eyes.
"Tell you whatyou start putting the teddy bears under the tree or whatever, I'll take care of the sweets, okay?"
"Heh, thanks. Ooh, make sure to leave some crumbs, though. And don't drink all the milk."
"Yeah, yeah "
Gwen sat down on the couch and put the plate in her lap as Cody reached into his bag, first filling each of the stockings on the wall and then kneeling down beside the tree. There were already a few gifts arranged down there, presumably from Leshawna's family members to each other. Most of them were fairly average in size, though one with a different wrapping paper was half as tall as Cody himself. He paused to look at its tag, then chuckled; To: Leshawna, From: Harold. Of course...
Gwen bit into a cookie, purposefully trying to drop crumbs onto the plate. Oatmeal raison. Not her first choice, but good enough.
"So, what are Leshawna and her family getting this year?" Gwen asked, as Cody began to arrange packages with slow but practiced technique.
"Well, it's all wrapped, but let's see hmm, this feels like a CD a bunch of different boxes of clothes, wonderful"
"Well keep in mind, us teenage girls actually like clothes."
"Ha, I guess that's true I always considered those dud gifts myself." Cody paused, cocking his head for a moment. "This is a pretty awesome job, isn't it?"
"Huh?" Gwen looked up from her last cookie,
"Well, I don't know. I mean, I can't really say I'm enjoying breaking into millions of houses and having to set up all this stuff over and over again, butwell, like you said, it's sort of nice doing this, isn't it? I mean, in a couple of hours Leshawna will be here with her family, unwrapping this stuff and hopefully getting a big kick out of what we're leaving and the crumbs," he added playfully, motioning to Gwen's empty plate. "I always got a big kick out of those."
She chuckled and smiled. "Yeah. Heck, I sort of wish I could be here to see it." She closed her eyes, trying to imagine. "I can just see Leshawna opening that new CD she wanted and dancing all around the room with it."
She began to imitate Leshawna's bad dancing from her seat on the couch. Cody laughed. Gwen did toountil her elbow accidentally bumped against the plate in her lap, sending it to crash loudly on the hardwood floor.
Cody winced so hard that his Santa hat slipped down to cover his face. Gwen closed her eyes, then slowly opened them to see the plate in pieces by her feet.
"Oh, crap," she said, standing up and stepping away from the broken glass. She looked around the dark room, sighing. "Well, at least that magic sleeping thing makes sure that we can't wake anybody up."
"Uh, actually, it just makes sure that nobody's awake before we come down here. People can still wake up after we arrive."
That's when they heard the sound of a door open, followed by bare feet on hardwood coming toward them.
Both sets of eyes widened.
Gwen looked around and quickly dived behind the couch, a position that would protect her from view of someone approaching from the hallway. Cody, meanwhile, just looked around wildly, too panicked to come up with some sort of rational choice of where to hide</B>
"Hey! Who's there? !"
Cody jumped as a short, stocky boy of about eleven or twelve stepped into the room, arms crossed over the cartoon character emblazoned on his pajama top. Cody turned pale, as the kid quirked an eyebrow. Gwen surreptitiously looked out from her hiding spot, eyes wide.
The kid just stared for a moment. Cody cleared his throat and smiled nervously.
"Umho, ho, ho?" he said, in a deep, Santa-esque baritone that sounded just as ridiculous coming out of his mouth as it probably sounds inside of your head.
The boy's eyes swept Cody from his ridiculous Rudolph slippers to his Santa hat. He definitely recognized the outfit, but something about the five-foot, one-hundred pound clean-shaven boy wearing it was throwing him off a bit. "Who are you?" he asked. Something about his incredulous tone made it very easy for Cody to imagine that this kid was related to Leshawna; he half expected him to end that question by calling him "Short Stuff."
"Who am I? Why, umI'm Santa Claus, of course!" Cody said, gesturing enthusiastically to make up for how utterly stupid that sounded. "And what's your name, little boy?"
The boy scoffed. "If you're Santa, shouldn't you be able to tell me that?"
"Whaum, uhwell, it's, uh, a little hard to keep trackyou know, billions of children and all"
"Pssst!" Cody turned as Gwen motioned from her hiding place, mouthing something to him. He quickly turned back to the boy, eye still darting back to her.
"Close enough. I mean, umwell, have you been a good boy this year, young man?"
" Ain't you supposed to have a beard or something?"
"Umw-well, Mrs. Claus wanted me to shave, because"
"And ain't you supposed to be fatter?"
"Yes, butyou know, diet and exercisemy doctor said that if I want to live another five hundred years I gotta watch my heart"
"And don't I know you from somewhere?"
A bead of sweat rolled down Cody's too-young, too-smooth face. "WellI'm Santa! You know, Iknow everyone, so"
"Noain't you that skinny white boy from one of the shows my sister was on? The geeky one with the stalker, the one her friend keeps shootin' down?"
Gwen groaned and covered her face with her hand. Cody's eyes widened, then narrowed as his lips pursed angrily and his cheeks began to heat up. His gaze wandered to the boy's pajama top. He nodded at the picture.
"You like Kaichumon, kid?"
Tyrone followed Cody's gaze to his shirt, then looked back up at his face. "Yeah ?"
"Well, the new Ebony and Ivory versions came out this year. Did you ask for one of those, by any chance?"
"Hmm." Cody reached into his bag and pulled out a package, one that, sure enough, was just the right size and shape to have a video game inside. "Well, Byron or Tyron or whatever your name is, if I were you I'd go and scurry back to bed, or Santa might get annoyed and chuck this out his sleigh somewhere over the ocean. Get it?"
He shook the package threateningly (it made the exact right rustling noise for a Game Guy video cartridge, a sound any avid gamer could easily recognize). Tyrone narrowed his eyes and scowled, a mirror of Cody's own expression. For a moment the two only stared.
" Alright, but if you're thieves trying to pull a Home Alone on us, don't think I won't report you to the cops in the morning," he said, turning and walking back into his room. "Being famous just means you're easier to find."
His bedroom door closed. Silence fell over the living room.
Gwen stuck her head out from behind the couch. She made a slight choking noise, looked away for a moment</I>and then began giggling behind her hand.
Cody turned to her, surprise wiping away the angry look on his face. "What?"
Gwen only kept giggling. After a moment, Cody couldn't help but giggle too.
The two were still smiling amusedly when they finished Leshawna's apartment and moved onto the next one.
Going up the chimney didn't take them to the roof, but rather, to the next apartment in the building, and the next after that and so on like an elevator with every button already pressed. It seemed to take forever to Gwen, but they passed through each of them without much incident, and the cookies and milk at least sweetened the deal a bit for her. They talked quietly as they set up each home, which helped to make the time go faster.
When they finally emerged onto the roof, they were laughing together, much to Kevin's displeasure.
"And so then my Aunt Ada was like, 'no, not like that!'"
"Oh, man, is your grandma's hearing really that bad?"
"Well, Grandma Jameson always was a bit nutty. Now, on my dad's side, we"
"Ahem," Kevin said, interrupting their conversation. "How did it go?"
"What? Oh, fine," Gwen said, waving her hand. "It's actually pretty fun," she added, climbing into the sleigh beside him.
"Yeah!" Cody said, grinning as he climbed back into his seat and took the reins.
They flew to their next location (the building across the street). Cody began to climb out. "So, either of you guys coming on this one?" he asked, voice unable to contain his hope and excitement.
"Yeah, I am," Gwen said, clambering out. Kevin watched her, lips pursed.
"...You know what? I am, too."
"Great!" Cody said, grinning back at him as the three of them marched across the snowy roof. "I think you'll really enjoy this more than waiting up here alone."
They stopped, lining up around the chimney. Cody held out his hand to Gwen; she started to take it, but suddenly Kevin's hand snatched it up first. Cody and Gwen both blinked in surprise as he smiled, gently pushing her out of the way and forcing himself between him. His grasp on Cody was painful as he gently took Gwen's hand in his other one.
"Heh-heh...let's do it this way instead, okay?" he asked, falsely-sweet. It was a tone of voice that he usually reserved for when Duncan was around.
Cody nodded, looking slightly disturbed. Gwen just scowled and rolled her eyes.