ghost of christmas to come

“I might just split a seam now, if I don’t die laughing first.” 👻🎃
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

4

Continuing the catch-up, from Christmas, I took  a little time to work on a personal interpretation of The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet To Come smiley I love the story of A Christmas Carol so much…I’d really like to keep developing a version of my own! I’ve always loved the Victorian Christmas where warmth, joy and firelight aren’t so far from the fear of winter’s chill. In this take on the spirits- Christmas Past is the little firelight of Scrooge’s own candle, the bell that rings to signify the haunting, as flickering and insubstantial as memory. I imagine her fading and passing her lights on to Christmas Present who wears them as cowl of an advent wreath (the five candles traditionally symbolizing love, joy, peace, hope and the central flame of Christ). Present is a personified horn of plenty mixed with Saint Nicholas, a moving feast that paradoxically cannot be eaten by the starving child hidden in his robes (who will grow into the gaunt form of Christmas Yet To Come). And he is designed to evoke a decaying Christmas tree, under starlight.

Six Months to Strawberry Time, Chapter 2: The Counsel of Spirits

In which Madge interacts with all the side characters you never knew you wanted to read about and Mejhiren alludes to all her favorite side-pairings while A Christmas Carol nods sneak in every now and again…

“I’m going to be Gale’s new hunting partner,” I answer at last. Not eagerly, nor with embarrassment or uncertainty, but I feel a great weight drop from my chest as the words leave my lips.

After all, this is the only person whose approval truly matters.

It’s belatedly occurred to me that I should have sought Prim’s permission before speaking to Gale, taking over Katniss’s role as I am, or maybe I should apologize for not having done so – but she only smiles at me once more, unbothered and utterly unsurprised. “Of course you are,” she says. “You’ve had the woods in your eyes for a while now. If Katniss hadn’t left with Peeta, she could have taken you out herself,” she observes. “The pair of you could have hunted and foraged together, and never mind Gale Hawthorne.“

“There’s a lovely thought,” I chuckle dryly. “And really, I may not even pass muster. I’m going out with him on Sunday – on trial, I think. It may not last any longer than that.”

Prim gives a short, strange laugh. “He’ll never give you up,” she assures me.

“Is he that desperate?” I wonder, nonplussed.

She hesitates a moment. “Not in the way you think,” she replies. “But yes, I think he is. Just…maybe you should tell him,” she suggests, “before things get too far along.”

I shake my head, now thoroughly confused. “Tell him what?” I ask.

“That you’re in love with him,” she says plainly. “It would be nice to have someone be open about it for a change.”

Chapter is posted on FF.net and AO3 (which now has a proper “series” for my WtMiverse fics). Also, shout-out to @prisspanem (you precious creature, whom I haven’t spoken to in unforgivable ages!), who was the direct inspiration for Mrs. Undersee’s term of endearment for her daughter. ❤

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TarjaO Come, O Come, Emmanuel (official music video)

Drawlloween: Ghast Christmas.
Time to milk this goat once again.

Lisa as Scrooge (was considering Lincoln, Lola and also Lynn.)
Lori as ghost of christmas past. (Was considering the four other eldest sister.)
Luan as  ghost of christmas present (Tough choice between her and Luna.)
Lucy as ghost of christmas yet to come (Lily and Lincoln were also considered.)

Luan: It does not matter if you sigh, literally  this presents you with a difficult present situation!
Get it?

[future|past]perfect

This could be more, as it’s as much narrative outline as story, but I think it’s still something. For @ichirukimonth Day 18: A Perfect End (August 24). 2,571 words, with a song:


I asked myself: was I content,
with the world that I once cherished?
Did it bring me to this darkened place
to contemplate my perfect future?
I will not stand nor utter words against this tide of hate.
Losing sight of what and who I was again

It is Christmas, 2032. Kazui started college in 2023, and an already ambivalent marriage that had been kept together in his name started quietly coming undone. By the time he graduated in 2027 it simply dissolved, just another statistical casualty. Last Ichigo heard, she was with Uryū.

He is 47 years old. He’s as grizzled as his father now, but lacks any of his affected cheer. He’s long past allocating blame. Lately he merely wonders: why not a Santen Kesshun or Sōten Kisshun here, or a memory replacer there? How did he wind up in such a circumstance when it could’ve been changed at any time?

I’m so sorry if these seething words I say
Impress on you
That I’ve become anathema of my soul

He’s been binging movies the past few days. It’s Christmas after all, so there’s It’s a Wonderful Life. There’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, because, well, he could always go and have it all erased. It wouldn’t even have to be her who did it… There’s Looper and Donnie Darko and… You know, maybe he and his memory aren’t the things that need to be erased. Maybe. Maybe…

He goes to Kisuke.

I can’t say that you’re losing me
I always tried to keep myself tied to this world,
Though I know where this is leading
Please
No tears
No sympathy

Kisuke has never been happy about how Yoruichi left, and Kisuke still owes him.

“I want to go back,” Ichigo eventually says over tea.

“… Back to where, Kurosaki-san?” Kisuke asks with confusion. Soul Society? That would be easy, but…

“… The beginning. No… just a little after then…” Ichigo muses, considering it more carefully.

Kisuke raises an eyebrow.

Ichigo explains.

“Out of the question,” Kisuke objects.

“Are you saying it’s impossible?” Ichigo demands.

Kisuke looks down and to one side, his hat obscuring his face.

“I remember Aizen bragging about how his Kurohitsugi would warp space and time…” Ichigo continues.

“We can’t,” Kisuke says gravely.

A small eon passes.

“What do we have to lose?” Ichigo asks, with all the light airiness of a falling feather.

I can’t say that you’re losing me
But I must be that which I am
Though I know where this could take me
No tears
No sympathy

It is Christmas, 2037. Preparations are complete. Kisuke has finished the machine. Ichigo has ended his training.

He is 52 years old.

Kisuke somberly passes him the device. It looks something like a smart phone, seemingly  rather innocuous. He presses it into Ichigo’s hand firmly. “You just click the button on the side and confirm the data on the screen.”

“Right.”

Kisuke doesn’t let go. “You’ll have to make sure.”

There’s a long pause before Ichigo quietly says “I know,” and heads for the senkaimon.

A moment later, he’s in Soul Society. He can feel it hum in his bones.

The guards start at his sudden appearance, but his profile is known to them, even if he hasn’t been through the gate in 35 years.

Ichigo strides forward into the middle of the plaza to wait patiently below a light snowfall. He hasn’t seen her since things started getting tense, shortly after he turned 30. She’ll show up sooner or later.

Gracefully
Respectfully
Facing conflict deep inside myself
But here confined
Losing control of what I could not change

He doesn’t have to wait long.

Rukia drops out of flash step casually some 20 minutes later a few meters ahead of him.  She’s youthful as ever, her hair long and braided here and there, her haori fluttering elegantly. It seems hardly a day has passed for her.

Her eyes widen as she takes in his appearance—he sees it all before she brings her expression under control.

“Ichigo?” He looks so much like his father, though his hair is long like that time, after the fight with Aizen.

“Yo, Rukia,” he ventures with an awkward but natural smile.

Her brows knit together in confusion. “What are you doing here?” Soul Society doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but…

“Uh…” Ichigo begins. He closes his eyes and rubs at the back of his head. All this time and he never really thought of what to say.

They stand in silence for a time before he exhales and drops his head. “Hey. If we could do it all over again, would you want things to end up like this?”

Rukia squints, then frowns, and finally turns away, crossing her arms at the directness of the question. “After all this time, you come here now to ask something like that? Don’t expect me to answer that kind of thing,” she says with a quiet voice.

Ichigo studies her back intensely. Something about the way she said that… No, you wouldn’t. He closes his eyes and draws in a breath, basks in her reiatsu one last time. I’m sorry, Rukia, but… I already know your answer. At last he turns away, pitching his voice up with mirth. “Oi, Shinigami. I’ll be back.”

Rukia blinks again and furrows her brow in recollection. “It is not Shinigami—” she begins, turning around. Her eyes go wide as Ichigo is nowhere to be seen or felt. There is only the faintest distortion in the air, like a heat shimmer. She immediately looks around in alarm, but there is no sign of him. He’s just vanished.

Gracefully
Respectfully
I ask you “Please don’t worry,”
Not for me.
Don’t turn your back
Don’t turn away

It is late June, 2001.

He is both 15 and 52 years old.

Ichigo the Elder stands within the Soul Society of the past for only an instant, his reiatsu suppressed to the maximum. In the blink of an eye, he uses Shadow to slip into the Schatten Bereich. He doesn’t care whether he was noticed—his presence was simply too brief to be anything but a hallucination.

He glances about with disinterest before jumping up far above Wandenreich’s rooftops, quickly locating Silbern.

A second longer and he is there, inside its halls.

He pauses long enough to quickly look around, and then the screaming starts and doesn’t end.

By the time Ichigo arrives at the throne room, the halls are slathered in dripping, viscous crimson.

He advances into the room methodically, spotless for his prior speed. Sure enough, there are Yhwach and all the Sternritter. Ichigo looks down at the floor in thought.

There is a deathly quiet.

“Who are you?” Haschwalth demands.

“… Kurosaki Ichigo?” Yhwach soon mutters. But that’s impossible, that boy is only 15, and…

A sinister grin creeps to the corners of Ichigo’s mouth. “I am… the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.” His voice distorts ominously as he finishes the sentence; his skin blanches to a pallid white; his hair flies back as if in the wind, suddenly long and flowing; and his eyes glow like embers before a horned skull mask forms over his face.

The room is cast in an altogether different red from the hallways, one of pure rage, before it gains that other color, splattered and splayed across the walls and floor and ceiling as judgment is rendered upon the Quincy once more.

I can’t say that you’re losing me
I always tried to keep myself tied to this world
Though I know where this is leading

Sometime later he is atop Karakura Hospital, once more wreathed in a shihakushō. Locating Ryūken is easy. He’s in the man’s office in a flash.

Ryūken looks up from his paperwork with a frown. Something about the face is strangely familiar, but… “Shinigami aren’t welcome here.”

Ichigo grins and casually tosses something onto his desk. “You should tell your son the truth.”

Yhwach’s head lands upon the desk with a wet thud, rolling to face Ryūken with an expression of mute terror as it oozes red ichor onto the papers.

Ryūken’s eyes go wide in alarm and snap up toward the coldly arrogant face that he now all too clearly sees resembles Isshin’s. For the first time in quite a while, he grasps for words.

Ichigo slowly lifts a finger to his lips in an exaggerated gesture of “Shh,” raising his eyebrows. “Don’t tell him. Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, now would we?”

Ryūken isn’t able to blink before Ichigo turns and opens a garganta, disappearing.

Please
No tears
No sympathy

Ichigo is less thorough in Hueco Mundo by choice. He’s already in his Hollow form by the time he enters Las Noches and he doesn’t dally. He liquidates Yammy and Szayelaporro in a perfunctory way, leaves Grimmjow thrashed but alive on his way to terminating Rudbornn and Zommari, and viciously crushes Ulquiorra to within a millimeter of his life. Perhaps it’s a mistake, but perhaps they will have utility. He only needs to make sure of two targets, after all. Everything else is… sporting.

He gives Aaroniero all of his attention, because their meeting is personal.

By the time he’s confronted by Starrk, Baraggan, and Harribel, he’s already satisfied and sated. The rulers of Hueco Mundo may keep their crowns of sand. He departs as quickly as he arrived, leaving them perplexed but warily grateful in the shattered ruins of Las Noches.

I can’t say that you’re losing me
But I must be that which I am
Though I know where this could take me

Ichigo is again back in black by the time he steps out of Soul Society’s senkaimon, but he has no time to tarry. In an instant he is at the doors to the Captains’ Assembly Hall, knowing them all to be there. He stops to shove the doors open theatrically with both hands, standing squarely in the entryway.

He has enough time to look up and down their ranks before Yamamoto can even begin to rebuke the interruption. He has never been affected by Kyōka Suigetsu—would it even matter anyway, since it’s a different timeline?—and easily ascertains that yes, Aizen is really there.

“What is the meaning of—” Yamamoto begins.

Ichigo has already stopped in front of Aizen, and stabbed him through both the soul sleep and binding chain. There are no errors in it—of this he is absolutely certain. He follows up by snatching his glasses with his off-hand and upper-cutting him backwards through the wall with his swordhand.

The Captains have enough time to widen their eyes in shock, but not to track the events, when Gin and Kaname are each kicked through the walls in turn.

Once they can move, Ichigo has already grabbed Byakuya and disappeared.

No tears
No sympathy

They pop back into existence in the lair of the conspirators.

Byakuya stands tall after being flung toward a computer bank, reaching for Senbonzakura’s hilt. “You—”

Ichigo holds up a finger to silence him and begins working a keyboard, his every motion showing his utter disinterest and lack of concern. “Do you really think that tormenting Rukia for 49 years was what Hisana had in mind?” he asks quietly.

Byakuya falters but for a split-second, but for him, that is more than enough. “What…”

“You made two promises you shouldn’t have: to your parents to defend the rules, and to her to protect your sister. Which will you keep?” Ichigo muses.

“Who are you?!” Byakuya demands, letting his temper flare through.

“I’m…” Ichigo begins as he enters the final keystrokes. A pedestal emerges from the floor in the center of the room, rising up, bearing the glittering form of a Hōgyoku. He walks over and takes it, studying it for a second before pocketing it and turning to face Byakuya directly, looking him dead in the eyes. I really want to use that ‘the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’ line again, but… “You think that if you don’t obey the rules, who will? Well, I’m a Shiba. And if I was you, I would definitely… fight the rules.”

Byakuya’s eyes widen before he narrows them down to slits. “Shiba…? What do you want?”

Ichigo watches him placidly for a moment. “'Dying to exterminate great evil. Know that this is the spirit of the Gotei 13,’” he recites, before glancing at the computers. “You’ll find proof of the crimes of Aizen, Ichimaru Gin, and Tōsen Kaname in these.”

With that, he turns away.

“What is your given name, Shiba?” Byakuya asks.

Ichigo smiles to himself. It’ll make things more amusing. “Ichigo,” he says, and disappears again.

No tears for me, no sympathy

It’s early afternoon when he appears at home. He can immediately tell that Karin and Yuzu are at school as are… he and Rukia. He frowns at the thought and heads into the clinic.

Isshin is at his desk working on a report. Something tells him it’s Ichigo that’s just entered, but… “You’re home early?”

Ichigo casually tosses Aizen’s glasses onto the desk such that they slide to rest in front of his dad, the lenses cracked from how he grabbed them.

Isshin blinks at them in confusion, then recognition, before turning around. His face falters in shock.

“You should tell your son the truth,” Ichigo repeats solemnly, studying his father’s eyes for a second. He turns and adds “This weekend,” before walking out.

He takes a glance around the living room before teleporting to the roof. He’ll have more than enough time to eliminate Ginjō, Tsukishima, and Giriko, grab Yukio and Riruka, bring them to this Kisuke, explain everything, and be back here before he has to move on. I should probably help him out and get him a present to give Yoruichi when she shows up…

No tears for me, no sympathy

By the time Ichigo returns, it’s after midnight. He knows the other him and Rukia are asleep even from outside. Appearing in his bedroom, he ponders Ichigo the Younger for a time. Producing the Hōgyoku, he begins the kidō ritual to seal it within his younger self’s soul.

Once he finishes, he goes to the closet door and cracks it open to consider Rukia. The wan light casts a fine line across her face, but she doesn’t rouse.

Ichigo contemplates her timelessness for a while, then his younger counterpart, and back again. They’re a matching set now, in every way. Perhaps they can do something new with it—something more.

He quietly closes the closet door and departs for the Urahara Shop, whispering “See you around, Shinigami.”

The rest of his journey is largely uneventful, until he’s standing atop the Vestibule Road in the Soul King’s Palace, surrounded by the Royal Guard and Divine Soldiers.

“Identify yourself, intruder,” Senjumaru commands.

Ichigo throws his head back and laughs, resting Zangetsu on one shoulder. He eventually returns his gaze to their plane, tapping the sword against his shoulder as he proclaims “A horse! A horse!”

Zero Division exchange small, confused looks.

Ichigo gestures about with his free hand and swings the sword around to point it at Ichibē, waggling it slightly. “My kingdom for a horse!”

All weapons rise against him.

“Bald Guy, I thought you were the 'Monk Who Calls the Real Name’!? I am…” Ichigo grins for effect, “the Soul King!”

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“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” First video and single from the new album “from Spirits and Ghosts (score for a dark Christmas)” Enjoy.