Friends in Time for Christmas

by: TabulaRasa | Complete Story | Last updated Dec 22, 2008

Mark decides to spend winter vacation with his roommate Tommy's family, but ends up spending a lot longer.

Chapter 1
Friends in Time for Christmas

Mark awoke with a start, and a gasp loud enough to wake Tommy as well. "What’s wrong?" Tommy asked.

"I...I don’t know." Mark struggled to catch his breath. "I had this weird dream, and...what happened to your room?"

For a moment the room was tauntingly familiar, and not at all the room they’d gone to sleep in. "That’s really weird..." Down to every detail, this was what his room has looked like when he was a kid, a good seven or eight years ago.

"Tommy...what happened to you?"


"Dude, look at yourself."

At first, Tommy couldn’t see anything different about himself. And the first changes he noticed were just on par with the other changes to the room: his bed was covered in the space-themed sheets he’d loved as a little kid, and later had to beg his parents to hide when friends slept over.

But that didn’t seem to be what Mark was referring to. It was only after he looked at Mark that he guessed what Mark meant: Mark had, quite obviously, turned into a kid, probably a year or two from hitting puberty. About the age, in other words, that Tommy had been when his room looked like it did now.

He looked down at small hands. "I look like a kid, don’t I?"

Mark nodded.

"You do too."

"I was afraid of that."

Like Tommy’s room, all the things Mark had brought had also changed to match their apparent ages. The sleeping bag Mark had gone to sleep in, the one made to handle winter camping trips in Alaska, had turned into a rather flimsy looking one with a spiderman theme. As Mark got out of the bag to stand up, Tommy could see that the colored t-shirt and flannel pants had changed to match: a big picture of the superhero dominated the shirt, and a thousand small spidermen were flinging webs around all over his pajama pants.

Tommy didn’t have to look at his own pajamas to know they were even worse. He recognized the slight pinching at his wrists and ankles as the pajama set that went along with his sheets, the ones he’d insisted on wearing for years (never, of course, at a sleepover where his friends might see them) after they became too small, until they finally ripped.

Mark hunted through his belongings. His backpack had changed like the sleeping bag; no cartoony theme this time, but no longer big and sturdy enough to trek across the Adirondacks with. It took him a minute to even recognize his suitcase. Instead of the larger one, packed with enough clothes to last him a few weeks, there was a duffel bag, with a single change of clothes---suitable for the pre-teen sleepover the world seemed to suddenly believe in, instead of the winter-vacation long visit that had been the plan only the night before.

His wallet was similarly altered. A flimsy, colorful thing with cloth and velcro, it had only a few dollars, a library card, and a student ID from a place he’d never even heard of, "Franklin Middle School."

"Tommy, what the F’s going on here?"

"Seriously, dude, I don’t know."

Mark lost it then. He bounded across the room, shoved Tommy down on to the bed, and knelt over him, arm pulled back, ready to punch his friend. "I’m not F-ing kidding. What’s happening?" It wasn’t Tommy’s response that had elicited the sudden rage; ironically, it was the question itself---it was only after hearing himself say it that he realized he’d reflexively, casually, censored the swear. The world being crazy, Mark could handle. But his own behavior, his own thoughts changing to match: that was scary.

Whether Mark would actually have punched Tommy is hard to say, since someone turned the handle of the door, and Mark reflexively hopped off Tommy and sat, as non-chalantly as he could, on the edge of the bed.

"Good morning boys." Tommy’s mother poked her head in the room. "Is everything all right? I thought I heard someone yelling."

The boys exchanged glances. "Yeah, everything’s fine mom."

"Oh, good. Well, I’m going to go downstairs and make pancakes and bacon for brunch. I’ll call you when it’s ready."

She walked away, leaving the door open behind her.

"She did this, didn’t she?" Mark whispered to Tommy. "Remember last night, she was saying all those random comments about responsibility and seconds chances and stuff? She must have made us kids somehow."

Tommy just nodded. The list of minor miracles, just barely explicable, that surrounded his mother had long ago acclimated him to the possibility that his mother was a witch. Now that it was finally confirmed, it was a sideshow to the real issue.

The comments Mark alluded to---the references to responsibility and stuff that Tommy’s mother had been making---were about their grades for the semester. Tommy and Mark had not had a good semester.

Well, more precisely, they’d had a great semester, in the ways that happed to cause their grades to be quite poor. Mark had been fretting enough about having to face his father that Tommy had invited him over for the vacation. Much to Mark’s father’s frustration, Mark had cancelled his plane ticket with a vaguely described excuse about a ski trip, and planned to stay with his roommate. Since Tommy lived only two towns over, it was an easy arrangement to make, and Tommy had just fed his own parents a story about how Mark couldn’t afford to fly home, and needed somewhere to stay while the dorms were closed.

At the time, both had thought they’d pulled the wool of their parents’ eyes.

"We’d better get out of here. If we hitch our way back to campus, we’ll probably be safe, and maybe there’s someone we know still around who can help us."

"Yeah, that makes sense."

"Okay, let’s get dressed and get out of here before your mother calls us for brunch."

Mark took the clothes---his only change of clothes---out of his duffel bag. Despite the fact that he and Tommy had changed in front of each other without a second thought every day for a semester, the thought of doing so now brought about a twisty embarrased feeling in the pit of his stomach. Besides, from the outside at least, he looked entirely pre-pubescent, while the way Tommy’s shirt was stretched suggested that Tommy had just hit a growth spurt that might well indicate some changes through the rest of his body. And if that were true, and Tommy noticed, that would just make the situation more embarrasing. So Mark took the clothes and left for the bathroom, hoping Tommy wouldn’t think it was strange.

In fact, Tommy, who’d had much the same visceral feeling of embarrasment at the thought of changing in front of his friend in this reduced body, had been worrying about how to suggest that Mark do exactly that without seeming weird. Only after Mark was gone did Tommy pull the sheets off from over his pants, revealing the the bottom of his pajamas was stretched even more than the top; he blushed to remember that he’d actually worn these on purpose when he was this size. This size the first time, that is.

Afraid Mark might return before he was finished changing, Tommy grabbed the first clothes he could find from his drawers. The boxers were black ones with the space motif he’d been so obsessed with at that age, a crescent moon on the side of one leg being targeted by a rocket on the opposite side, but the rest were normal enough: plain blue jeans, white socks, and a plain green turtleneck shirt.

In the bathroom, meanwhile, Mark examined his own change of clothes for the first time. No underwear, presumably because he would just stay in the same boxers he’d worn to sleep, plus jeans, a white undershirt, and a long-sleeved camaflouge shirt.

He took his time, so by the time he made it back to Tommy’s room, Tommy had been waiting several minutes. "Okay, we ready?"

"Yeah, let’s hurry, before..." Mark was cut short by Tommy’s mother calling from downstairs.


Breakfast was awkward, at least for the boys. Tommy’s parents chatted happily, with each other and with them, oblivious, or at least pretending to be, to the fact that anything had changed. Pressed about their plans for the day, Mark boldly explained that they were going to "play" outside all afternoon. He insisted on the "definitely all afternoon" part, hoping that Tommy’s parents wouldn’t notice they were gone until dinner.

Finally they escaped from breakfast. With Tommy’s mother supervising, the boys pulled on colorful jackets, hats, and gloves. When Tommy went to put on his shoes, his mother intervened. "Way too snowy for sneakers, Tommy. Wear your boots. Actually, Mark, did you bring boots?"


"Tommy, let Mark wear your new boots, and wear your old ones. They still fit you well enough."

Arguing would have just delayed the process and brought unwanted attention, so they reluctantly complied. Tommy handed Mark the big red waterproof boots he vaguely remembered, trying to look apologetic in the face of Mark’s glare. Then he tried to pull on the slightly smaller yellow ones. They were a bit tight, so after a quick tug to show that he was making a real effort, he called back, "They don’t fit. I’ll just wear my sneakers."

"Nonsense, you just have to pull a bit harder. Here, I’ll help."


"Don’t be stubborn, Tommy." Before he could protest, his mother was standing over him, gesturing for him to sit down on the chair by the door. Swallowing his pride, he did, and his mother proceeded to pull the boots on for him, one by one. They were still a bit tight, and pinched his toes slightly, but better that than arguing with her about them. "There you go. Now, you two have fun outside."

The two ran out. Out of sight, at last, they could stop pretending things were okay and focus on dealing with their situation. They ran to the road. "Campus is like 30 miles. We can’t walk that far. Especially I can’t, these boots are too small."

"Well, let’s just hitch a ride."

"Yeah, good idea. Except, who’ll pick up two kids?"

"I bet someone will. Hey, there’s a car now." Mark stuck out his thumb and the car slowed down in front of them. It was gleaming white, almost sparkling in the sun.

The man inside rolled down the window. "You need a lift?"

"Yeah, we’re going to the university."

"Why, I was just heading that way myself. Hop in."

Mark opened the passenger door and got in, and Tommy, still surprised someone had stopped so readily, got in the back, suddenly jealous that Mark had gotten to be the one in the front seat.

After they’d gone only a few blocks, Mark noticed something. "Hey, this is a Ferarri!" Tommy hadn’t even thought about the make of the car, but now that Mark pointed it out, he noticed that it was, and quite a fancy one at that.

"Yes, that it is," the man driving said.

Mark decided to push his luck. "Hey, would you mind if drove it a bit? It’s really cool, and I’ll be careful and won’t break it or anything."

"Not at all. Go ahead and give it a spin." The man pulled over on the side of the road and traded seats with Mark. Increasingly annoyed at being stuck in the back, Tommy fidgeted uncomfortably, reminded of how much his boots still pinched.

Mark drove recklessly: fast, with sharp turns and sudden stops that sent everyone in the car flying forward. But the roads were clear, so nothing went wrong. When they’d gotten most of the way to the university, Tommy finally piped up. "Could I drive the rest of the way?"

"Well...we’re almost there, and we’d have to stop and change seats, and we’re in a rush."

"But we stopped so you could drive!" Tommy shouted, now genuinely angry.

"Only ’cause I’m a better driver."

"Are not!"

"Okay, whatever." Mark just got out of the car, in the middle of the road, without stopping. And the car was a mound of snow, the man a small pile of twigs. Thinking back, it was quite clear in his memory that the car, the man, the trip had always been make believe, but he could remember how the game had started. They’d certainly go out intending to really escape to the university, but somehow all they’d done was play a childish game.

They heard Tommy’s mother call. "Boys, would you like to come in for some hot chocolate?" Exchanging sheepish looks, they trudged back to the house to formulate a new plan in the comfort of a heated house. Tommy’s mother welcomed them in, and they took off their jackets. As Tommy leaned over to tug off his boots, Mark noticed briefs---childish ones, black with a colorful pattern---sticking out over the edge of Tommy’s jeans. He had a suddent urge to make fun of them, but bit it back. He was glad he did: as he pulled off his jacket, he discovered he was wearing overall-style snow pants over his own jeans. As he pulled them off, a sudden, horrible thought crossed his mind, and while Tommy’s back was turned, Mark lifted his shirt to check his own underwear. To his relief, it was the same spiderman boxers he’d been wearing this morning; a bit childish, yes, but far better than the possibilities.

Once boots, jackets, the other assorted outdoorswear was off, they took their hot chocolate to the living room, turned on the television to cover them talking, and set back to scheming an escape, or at least to recapping what had gone wrong with the last plan.

"What happened out there?" Mark asked.

"I don’t know. We went to the road, but then you started playing a goofy game."

"Me? You’re the one who started pretending that pile of snow was a car!"

"Only because you were already pretending, you stupid brat!"

"I’m not a brat!" Tommy lunged across the couch and tried to pin Mark, but rapidly found himself overpowered.

"Admit it! Admit you’re a brat!" As the two wrestled on the couch, Mark shoved Tommy up against the arm, which caused his head to bump the end table, spilling Tommy’s hot chocolate all over him.

"Hey! Mooom!"

Tommy’s mother rushed in to find Mark still kneeling over the distinctly smaller Tommy. "What’s going...oh my god! You spilled it all over the couch! Mark, what do you think you were doing?"

"I...Tommy started it..." Mark muttered.

"Well you’re older, so you should have stopped it. Honestly, Mark..."

As Tommy’s mother lectured him, Mark struggled with himself, trying to remember that the woman lecturing him wasn’t his mother, and that he wasn’t really twelve...or ten...or however old he appeared to be. But, in the moment, it was difficult; he FELT like a kid being lectured by his mother, and when she ordered him up to his room, he found himself trudging sullenly up the stairs to Tommy’s room before it even occurred to him that there was any other option.

Appropriately, Tommy’s room had changed to match the idea that it was Mark’s as well. Near where Mark’s sleeping bag had been, there was now a full bed, with baseball themed sheets and comforter. Mark sat down on the edge of it and tried to resist the temptation to sulk.

Downstairs, Tommy’s mother turned on him. "You’re not blameless either, Tommy. I’m sure you were egging your brother on. Stand in the corner while I clean up the couch."

As Tommy stood in the corner, he tried to regain his bearings. But, especially after the fiasco outside, it was hard to sort out what was real and what was pretend. He had finally convinced himself that his older brother, at least, was a college student, and was trying to remember if he really was too, or if that was just another game of pretend, when his mother interrupted him. "Okay, Tommy, you can get out of the corner. Let’s get you into clean clothes."

His train of thought lost, Tommy followed his mother upstairs to the room he shared with Mark. While she went through his drawers picking out clothes, he looked curiously at Mark, who was sulking on his bed. Mark just glowered back at him, until their mother noticed. "Hey, you two, don’t look at each other if you’re just going to annoy each other."

Mark rolled his eyes and looked away, while Tommy took the clothes his mother gave him and started changing. The new clothes were more childish than the ones he’d been wearing before: yellow briefs with a dinosaur patter, rip-away athletic pants, and a green shirt with animals all over it. Out of the corner of his eye, Mark watched with horror as the boy stripped naked in front of both him and his mother and pulled on the clothes without a shred of modesty. He swallowed, afraid that soon, he’d be acting the same way.

In fact, Tommy didn’t feel nearly so innocent as he looked. He was acutely aware that his mother and Mark were watching him strip, and felt a further pang of embarrassment to see that he had absolutely nothing left to be embarrassed about. But the last thing he wanted to do was call even more attention to himself, so he just changed as quickly as he could.

"Alright, Tommy, let’s go. We’re leaving Mark alone for a while." Tommy followed her back downstairs. "Why don’t you play one of your video games for a while?"

Not sure what else to do, Tommy wandered back to the living room to check out his video games. His PS3 was gone, replaced by a Wii, and a collection of games that suggested a great deal more parental censorship had been involved in their selection. Reluctantly, he settled on Super Smash Brothers. It was no substitute for Manhunt, but it would have to do.

While Tommy was playing, his mother went upstairs to check on Mark. "You think you can play nice with your brother?"

Mark glared at her. Through gritted teeth, he finally said what he wanted to say. "He’s not my brother. You know he’s not my brother. And you’re not my mother, and I’m not a kid."

She sighed, and then strode rapidly across the room towards him. Mark tensed up, unsure of what was about to happen. He certainly wasn’t expecting her to pull him over her lap, pull down his pants, and start spanking him. He cried out at the unexpected pain, and two slaps later, he was surprised to find himself crying hard, unable to stop.

After what seemed like forever, although it was only five slaps, she put him down and left. Mark tried to stop sobbing as he pulled his pants back up.

He saw Tommy standing shyly in the doorway, watching him with a nervous look. "Are you okay?"

Mark just nodded and sniffled a bit. Tommy walked over and, giving in to instinct, hugged him; Mark, to his own surprise, hugged him back. "I’ll help you get away," the smaller boy promised.

"Yeah, we’re gonna get out of this. As a team. I’m sorry for getting mad at you earlier," Mark answered. "Okay, we need a new plan. We have to get out of here before anything else happens."

They quickly reassessed their situation. Both of them had gotten visibly younger since the morning; their best estimate placed Mark at around ten and Tommy, his "younger brother," closer to eight. Young enough that it would be difficult to get anyone to take them seriously; any encounters with other grown-ups were more likely to get them dragged back and in trouble than to get help. That meant the only option was fighting back.

The two fanned out to search the house for any hint of what might be causing them to get younger, with Mark heading for the basement and Tommy for the closets on the second floor.

It was Tommy who got caught first. He’d discovered a pile of rather suspicious looking boxes in a back closet, and was in the process of ripping them open to see if they provided a clue He hadn’t found anything useful---just toys, a train set and some action figures---when his father showed up behind him.

"Thomas Ryan Brewer, what do you think you’re doing?" Tommy turned around, trying to come up with an excuse. "You were trying to see what your presents were, weren’t you?"

"What? No!" Presents? All this madness, and his father thought it was about presents?

"Honestly, I’m very disappointed." His father picked him up under the arms without difficulty.

"Hey, put me down!" Tommy struggled and kicked his legs, but to no avail.

His father just ignored his struggles and carried him to his room before tossing him unceremoniously on his bed and launching into a lecture. Tommy barely followed the content---generic stuff about being immature and impatient and misbehaving, mixed with threats about Santa not coming if he continued. But his father was imposing and frightening, and Tommy found himself in tears just from the lecture. When his father finally left, after condemning him to stay in his room for a while, Tommy automatically reached for his stuffed bear and cradled the animal while he continued to sob.

Meanwhile, it was Tommy’s mother who discovered Mark rooting fruitlessly through the basement. He didn’t notice her until she sighed loudly behind him, making him jump.

"Mark, I’d hoped you’d gotten the message before. This would be much easier on you if you’d just set a good example for your little brother and behave yourself."

Mark looked back, afraid, eyes darting for an exit in case she had another spanking in mind.

She approached him, and he flinched, but all she did was tenderly stroke his cheek. "Mark, sweetie, it’s okay." And she embraced him. He flinched again, but she held on. "It’ll all be okay. Soon you and Tommy will be our happy little boys, and you won’t have a care in the world."

Mark wasn’t fooled, and at that threat, he began really struggling to get loose. As he darted off into the basement, he heard Tommy’s mother ask, plaintively, "Oh, Mark, how will we keep you out of trouble?"

For a minute, Mark was wandering through the piles of boxes in the basement, but after about two corners, the boxes turned into trees, and suddenly he was in the middle of a huge, still pine forest, with no sign of the house.

He was confused. Had he found some way out? That seemed unlikely. And he was, he noticed, dressed for the outdoors: somewhere along the way he’d acquired his jacket, a scarf, boots, even those snow pants he’d worn earlier in the day. So that made it more likely that it was some strange trap.

He looked around. There was no obvious path, at least none visible over the inch or two snow, and the forest looked more or less identical in all directions, except for a distant light in one direction.

Given the cold, it was tempting to go for the light, to hope it was a house. But it was too likely to be Tommy’s house, or some new trap. Boldly, defiantly, Mark set out in the opposite direction.

Even though there was no snow falling, it seemed to get higher as we went. Before there had been an inch or two, but soon it was up to his knees, making each step difficult. He began to worry. What if this were real? His memory of getting here was becoming fuzzier, and the oppressive cold and silence was getting to him. Maybe he’d run away...he remembered trying to run away...and then he got lost...and now he was going to die alone.

Fear warred with his anger and defiance, and finally won out. He turned around, and hadn’t gone two steps back before he woke up with a short scream, shivering, in a corner of the basement.

Tommy’s mother came running. "Mark, there you are! I’ve been looking for you!" She grabbed him and, cradling him, led him upstairs. "What were you doing down there, silly? It’s not heated, you must have been so cold."

Mark, still shivering, scared, and confused, just went along with her.

"Why don’t I run you a nice warm bath? It’s almost time to go anyways."

She left him in the kids’ bedroom with Tommy. The boys looked at each other, and each saw a scared, defeated boy looking back.

Tommy’s mother looked in. "The bath is running, it’ll be ready in a minute. Go ahead and get undressed. Tommy, you too. We’re going out tonight." The boys looked at each other, neither wanting to start. "Come on, let’s go."

Neither had the energy for another fight, so they started undressing. Tommy stripped down without hesitation, and Mark got down to his plain white briefs before a qualm hit him. But, under Tommy’s mother’s watchful eye, he pulled those off, too.

Tommy’s mother left them waiting for the bath to finish, and, out of boredom, Mark browsed the various toys that had appeared on "his" shelf. Tommy asked about an action figure, and before he knew it they were engrossed in a game. Only when Tommy’s mother showed up to tell them their bath was ready was Mark abruptly reminded that the two of them had been sitting on the floor and playing, completely naked.

Embarrassed again, he tried discretely covering himself as he and Tommy were marched to the bathroom. He stepped in, but before Tommy could try, he found himself lifted into the air and put in. A toy boat and a few small, waterproof figures soon joined. "Okay boys, I’ll be back in a few to check on you."

A short period of awkward silence followed, as the boys considered their situation. "So what do we do? And what’s this place your mom says we’re going to?"

"I dunno. But, maybe it’ll be easier to run away from there?"

"Yeah, I hope." Mark fiddled nervously with one of the figures, absentmindedly putting it on the boat. Tommy suddenly felt it was important to do the same with another figure, and in moments both boys were thoroughly distracted in saving the sailors from the horrible storm.

They were finally interrupted by Tommy’s mother returning. "Okay boys, bath time’s over. You two made quite a mess in here." The boys looked up guiltily, suddenly reminded that they shouldn’t have been playing like that, or taking a bath together, in the first place. "C’mon, up and out. We have to get ready."

Mark stood up, got out, and dried himself off with the towel he was handed. Tommy reluctantly let his mother help him out, but finally protested when she started to dry himself off.

"I can dry myself off."

She chuckled. "Oh, you’re a big boy now, aren’t you. Sure you can." She handed him the towel and kissed him on the head. Tommy blushed intensely, but took the towel and started drying himself off.

Mark returned to the bedroom, eager to put clothes on. He discovered that some had been laid out for him on "his" bed. Unfortunately, they consisted of a Christmas themed pajama set, with red santas flying in front of a green border. Worse, as he picked them up to put on, he found under them red briefs decorated with green christmas trees and matching socks. As he held them up, wondering if he had an alternative to wearing them, Tommy and his mother came in.

"I know they’re a bit childish, Marky dear, but they’ll be very cute, and they match Tommy’s."

Looking over, he saw that a matching set of pajamas had indeed been laid out on Tommy’s bed. With Tommy’s mother in the room supervising, picking out other clothes would have resulted in some kind of argument, so Mark reluctantly put the clothes on, and Tommy did the same.

"Alright, downstairs, time to go."

"Go? We’re wearing pajamas..."

"Oh, I know. We’re going to a little christmas party, and all the kids there will be wearing pajamas. It’ll be lots of fun. And...Santa will be there!" Mark gave a resigned sigh. He just had to hope that their chance to escape would come.

The boys put on jackets and boots and got in the car. They sat quietly in the back while Tommy’s mother chatted gayly at them about how exciting the party they were going to was going to be.

The party was filled with kids, all, as promised, wearing assorted pajamas, and a fairly good Santa, tubby and with an excellent, real looking beard. Tommy and Mark, in their matching christmas pajamas, were a cute set, and Tommy’s mother repeatedly gathered them together to show off to other parents, who invariably smiled condescendingly at them and commented on how cute they looked.

They boys wanted to get some distance to make their move, but Tommy’s mother insisted they get in line to sit on Santa’s lap first. Looking at the boys ahead of them, Mark noticed that one of the others, a boy about Tommy’s age, was looking around rather suspiciously. Suspecting something was out, Mark kept an eye on him.

The boy got on Santa’s lap and...perhaps it was a trick of perspective, but Santa looked much, much bigger than the boy. And an "elf" helped the boy off Santa’s lap, the boy was obviously much, much younger than Tommy.

Mark looked down at Tommy. As roommates, he’d always watched out for his sometimes-naive friend, and now that they seemed to be brothers, he felt even more protective of the boy. He couldn’t let that happen to Tommy, no matter what.

As their turn to talk to Santa came about, Mark turned to Tommy. "Whatever happens, don’t talk to Santa."

"Huh? Why not?"

But there wasn’t time to answer. Mark climbed onto Santa’s lap. As Santa wrapped an arm around his waist, he was acutely aware of how big the man was, the way his legs dangled and swung far above the floor, how pleasant it felt to have this big, friendly Santa holding him. And the man looked down. "What do you want for Christmas, little boy?"

The longer the man held him, the bigger he seemed to get, like Mark was sinking into him, and getting smaller as he did. He knew what he wanted, though. "Tom...tom...Thomas! I want Thomas the Twa...Train!" Santa gave his side a gentle squeeze. He suddenly seemed far, far too big. "Then that’s what you’ll get."

And looking around, the rest of the world was too big too. Even Tommy, his little brother, now looked imposingly big.


Before Santa could put him down, he did the only thing he could to save Tommy. He let his bladder go. Pee got all him, all over his matching Christmas pajamas, all over Santa.

The warm feeling was followed, moments later by a horrible, crippling embarrassment. Before he knew what was happening, he was crying, and his mommy was running over and apologizing to Santa, and Tommy was laughing at him, which just made him cry more. Mommy pulled him off Santa’s lap and carried him to a bathroom, holding him at arm’s length. Someone gave her a towel, and she pulled down his pants and wiped him off, which just made him cry yet more.

Once he was finally clean, his mother cradled him a bit, calming him down, then when he’d finally stopped crying, she tied the towel around his waist. "We’re just going to go home, okay Marky?" Mark sniffled and nodded.

Tommy wasn’t sure what had happened, but it was clear that no one else would be sitting on Santa’s lap that evening. With both Tommy and Mark eager to leave, they left the party over, and had a quiet drive back home.

As soon as they got back, the boys were put to bed. After a story was read, lights were out and mom and dad had gone upstairs, Tommy went over to his brother.

"Hey, Mark?"


"You saved me, didn’t you? You became a baby so I wouldn’t have to."

Mark just looked confused. "I’m not a baby." He remembered he’d been trying to do something for his big brother, but he couldn’t exactly remember what, or even whether that had been real, or just pretend.

Tommy nodded solemnly. "You’re right, you’re not a baby. I’m sorry. You’re my awesome little brother, and I’m gonna take great care of you, like you took care of me. Merry Christmas, Mark."

"Mewry Christmas, Tommy."



End Chapter 1

Friends in Time for Christmas

by: TabulaRasa | Complete Story | Last updated Dec 22, 2008


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