A Complete List of Songs from the Skulduggery Pleasant Series
The full list of songs is under the cut. They’re listed in the order they appear in the books, and include quotes from the book and links to the songs on youtube. I’ve also compiled all the the songs on playmoss.
It is a fact universally acknowledged that come October, people can be divided into two factions.
Those who live for leaf piles, pumpkin patches and Halloween.
And those who turn the calendar to October 1 and begin the 84 day countdown to Christmas.
Now, James Potter always paid particular attention to Lily Evans. Somehow though, October had always been an exception to this rule. Because James Potter lived for the bliss of cooler weather, the beginning of quidditch and planning the annual Halloween prank. In the month of October, James had other things on his mind thankyouverymuch and couldn’t be bothered to know what kind of October person Lily Evans was.
He knew, of course that her eyes sparked the most in the winter. She practically glowed in January, especially on her birthday week. He knew she was melancholy in March, whimsical in April and that she would take any dare she was given and make you regret it in July.
Through no fault of his own, James had missed the inaugural pronouncement of “84 Days until Christmas” on October 1st in their first year due to an unfortunate accident with the giant squid; missed the distribution of “pre pre Christmas cookie taste test” on October 11th their second year (detention); the Christmas tree catastrophe of their third year (quidditch); the Christmas knitting party in fourth year (quidditch); the mistletoe mishap of fifth year (holding a leaf in your mouth for a month sucks); and he was unaware of the failed 84 day advent calendar of sixth year (the giant squid really needed to give a man a break).
So when James picked Lily up for rounds he was taken aback when he heard her singing “Good King Wenceslas” in their office.
“Lily… are you ready? It’s time for rounds!”
As she flung the door open James swore he smelled pine, gingerbread and plum.
She responded with too much enthusiasm for a Tuesday, “Oh yes sorry! Lost track of time. Tis the season, you know?”
“Right. Well shall we take the usual route?”
“Of course!” She said with a overly cheery laugh and off they went.
Rounds were the usual banter and discussion of quidditch, classes and gossip. Near the end of the second hour however, Lily began to hum. Now, Lily always started humming when they’d run out of typical conversation and normally James enjoyed it. She’d introduced him to at least five new bands in the few months they’d been dating. But tonight, tonight surprised him. He swore he must be having some sort of auditory hallucination. At first it was “Good King Wenceslas” which he figured could be a tune that had a variety of lyrics. By the time they got to astronomy tower though, James was positive Lily was humming “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
He racked his brain on how to approach this. They’d entered a tentative friendship at the beginning of sixth year and had fallen easily into something more than friends over the summer (a man can only stand being bested in Muggle poker for so long before he has to make a move). They hadn’t had a fight since they started dating and he didn’t want to start now.
“Hey Lils…what’s today?”
The humming stopped. “October 3rd- only..”
“28 days until Halloween I know”
“Right! I forgot! I was going to say only…”
But they were interrupted as was typical of rounds by an excited couple and the conversation was cut short. After losing rock-paper-scissors (14/25) James had to fill the appropriate paperwork, owl the heads of house and create the rounds schedule for the next two weeks.
He was halfway to the kitchens for a pick me up when he decided he needed to seek the advice of one Remus John Lupin.
The dorm was a mess as usual and he was unsurprised to find Remus studying, Sirius braiding his hair and Peter trying to beat himself in Wizard Chess.
“Ah ha!” Exclaimed Sirius “The prodigal Prongs returns”
“Did we have a meeting planned?” squeaked Peter as his knight destroyed his other knight.
“No, no. I just finished rounds.”
“And how were rounds?”
Sirius twisted his expression, “Interesting, what did you and Evans catch Filch and McGonagall in the astronomy tower or something and felt the need to tell us all the gory details?”
“No! God No…I just….” He can’t quite define why he is so bothered by the events that transpired so he starts, “Well rounds were great as usual… but then Lily starting humming”
“alas-“ exclaimed Sirius “not the humming! Not the waxing poetic ‘Pads I swear it feels like home’ humming!”
“How shall you survive the humming?” Peter agreed dramatically, following Sirius’ playful jest.
“I never thought humming could be beautiful until rounds with Lily Evans.” Sirius mimicked James’ voice and James frown deepened.
Peter clasped his hands like he was praying and said through snorts of laughter, “And I just keep thinking I could hear that humming to our child as she puts them to sleep.”
“Oi! I never said the bit about rocking a kid to sleep”
“Yes you did” was the chorused reply
“Right, well normally I enjoy her humming. But tonight she bloody well went through every Christmas tune known to man.”
The response was not what James had expected. He had expected protesting, outrage at the blasphemy and Sirius dramatically storming toward the head suite to have one of his “chats with Evans”.
He did not expect Remus to simply pick his book back up, Peter to laugh and Sirius to say “Right. Well- you know how Evans gets”
“No I do not know “how she gets”. It’s October 3rd. We are nowhere near the reasonable time to begin singing Christmas songs”
Remus shrugged, “I’m with you mate, but for Lily that timeline is different. I mean the girl begins knitting Christmas jumpers in July”
“I think the worst was in third year when she tried to teach me how to knit”
“Honestly Wormtail it isn’t that hard to cast off. Evans did turn your monstrosity into a lovely scarf”
“I do love that scarf” Peter said wistfully.
“Personally I think her worst attempt was last years advent calendar” Remus added, unhelpfully.
Just as the conversation was about to spin totally out of control James countered “What. The. Bloody. Hell. Are. You. Lot. On. About. I know everything about Lily Evans. I would know- I would have to know if she was a - a- “
He couldn’t finish his sentence so Sirius finished it for him, “Pumpkin abusing, Halloween skipping, heinous pre Christmasophile?”
“YES! How could I miss such a glaring flaw?”
“Lilytober” they chorused again
“Stop speaking all at once!”
“Remus you tell him” Peter motioned pathetically to James.
Calmly, Remus set down his book and started “Lilytober is the great and time honored tradition where one James Potter does not mention Lily Evans for 31 days because he is manically preparing for quidditch, the annual pumpkin carving contest and the Halloween prank. In his absence, Lily Evans pushes her pre Christmas agenda on all of us but we do not mention it because it’s a fair trade to have 31 days of rant free bliss”
“We, of course, knew that this year would be different since you finally got Lily to agree to go out with you” Sirius said, “Lilytober- may it live in our hearts forever and ever”
Ignoring this James said “So, you mean to tell me….everyone…..everyone in Gryffindor tower knows that Lily Evans is an absolute Christmas nutter who ignores the sacred month of October and all that autumn holds except me?”
“All of Hogwarts knows Prongs”, Peter added unhelpfully.
James pressed his fingers to his temples, “I need a drink. Or 5. Or to reevaluate the kind of woman I fall for.”
How there always seemed to be a stockpile of Firewhiskey in the dorm, James would never know but he was appreciative of Sirius and his ability to keep a constant and much needed supply.
On the 5th shot James had an epiphany , “I’ll just convert her!”
On shot number 6 Sirius responded “Convert her to what? You’re talking crazy mate”
“No, no, listen. I converted Lily from borderline hating me to being my girlfriend. Making her see that October is for spooky things and not Christmas should be easy. I just have to show her all that October can offer. Pumpkin carving, setting off explosives, scaring first years. Come October 31st we will never remember Lily unnecessarily singing ‘Good King Wenceslas’ on October Third Again”
“Good luck with that mate” Sirius said into shot number 7.
The next morning dawned bright and early and although they had planned a lie in to deal with their hangovers they were awoken by the smell of coffee and someone singing
“Good Christian men rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow
And He is in the manger now
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!”
Amidst the groans and complaints of “Fuck, Evans, it’s only Wednesday” James heard the love of his life respond “Wake up gents, I’ve got coffee and hangover potion and Minnie is already looking for you Sirius so you better get up and at them” before she kissed him on the head told him “see you in potions” and whisked out the door.
“How does Lily always know when we’ve been drinking?” Peter asked, pulling pumpkin pasty from nowhere and taking a large bite
“James never tells her goodnight on our drinking nights so she always prepares a ‘Hangover Cart’” replied Remus grabbing the sole cup of tea.
Sirius’ grey eyes looked at the hangover cure lovingly, “Moony, if I ever leave you for someone it will be that mad Christmas bird. We’d be dead without her”
James chucked his sock at Sirius playfully, “Oi! That’s my mad Christmas bird”
After a day of too many loud noises, bright lights and general discomfort, James decided that Operation Spooky Lily could wait until the weekend. He had much too much homework, his quidditch team was looking like rubbish and they didn’t even have a draft of the big Halloween prank. So it was on the way to Hogsmeade on October 7th that operation October went into effect.
As they walked down the path to the village James took Lily on a detour to Hagrid’s pumpkin patch.
“I thought we could skip Hogsmeade today and celebrate the beginning of October properly, by carving pumpkins and roasting seeds” James told her as he pulled her from the usual path.
“But James, I wanted to go to Madame Puddifoots and snuggle- we haven’t been to Hogsmeade since we became official” Lily whined, but with a twinkle in her eyes that made him retaliate with a slight pinch on her side.
“I don’t know why I started dating someone as sarcastic as my best mate.”
“Because your best mate was already dating your other best mate and Peter is just there as a cute accessory?” Lily guessed.
“I’ll have you know Peter brings a lot to our group dynamic.”
Lily just rolled her eyes, let go of his hand yelling “race you” before running to the pumpkin patch.
James Potter learned that afternoon that Lily Evans had never carved a pumpkin or eaten pumpkin seeds. After recovering from this shock, he promptly showed her “the proper way” to cut and gut her pumpkin (he was glad Sirius wasn’t around or there would’ve been a 4 hour debate). After two hours of carving, throwing slime on each other and catching roasted pumpkin seeds; they revealed their masterpieces to each other.
James had carved an elaborate black cat wearing a witches hat that looked suspiciously like McGonagall. Lily had carved a shape that looked suspiciously like Santa Clause.
“Lil- is that”
“Santa? You know him? I wasn’t sure if it was just a Muggle thing or-why are you looking at me like that? I know his beard is a little off but I think the hat is clear enough”
She looked so pleased with herself and worried about his approval, the rant bubbling up from his core died on his lips.
“It looks brilliant. Now let’s go drop them on some Slytherin’s heads”
After thoroughly checking off “pumpkin carving prank” on the Operation October checklist, James knocked out “haunted house” , “leaf piles”, “dying Mrs. Norris black” and “charming all the cauldrons into jack o lanterns” with Lily at his side in no less than two weeks.
Things were going so splendidly James often forgot there was an operation unless one of the boys asked. It was October, he was pretty sure he was in love and his Quidditch team had never looked better. Nothing could take James Potter down.
That was of course until the morning of October 21, the day of the Gryffindor/Slytherin match when his beautiful girlfriend came to breakfast, not in the agreed upon James Potter quidditch jumper she had worn to matches since February 6th year after an unfortunate accident at breakfast but a blinking twinkling jumper that had a red nosed deer embellished on it.
Taking a deep breath, counting to ten and trying to not curse James prompted “Lily, dearest…what are you wearing?”
“My October 21 jumper. It’s Rudolph the red nosed reindeer’s birthday and I wear it every year”
“Lily” James said through gritted teeth, “It’s a Quidditch day”
“You’ll survive one game without me wearing your ‘lucky jumper’”
“Rudolph will survive one year without you wearing a bloody Christmas jumper in October!!!”
Lily drew back, “James Potter I do not like your tone.”
This, for some reason was the last straw, “Look- if you’re not going to wear my jumper and insist upon wearing that blasphemy in October then don’t even come to the match, alright?”
“Fine” Lily said coolly, “but don’t expect me to show up to the post match party either”
And then she left. James watched her go.
Miraculously and despite his girlfriend’s absence and refusal to wear the proper attire- Gryffindor won. James was so thrilled (and trashed) he had completely forgotten why and what they had fought about until he asked Marlene “where’s Lily?” and Marlene started shouting about reindeer and birthdays and “if you can’t love October Lily you don’t deserve Summer Lily” and shouting until his head hurt.
His only response was “It’s bloody October and no reasonable person should even look at a Christmas jumper until November 1 and you can tell her that.”
The party died down soon after and James did not emerge from his room the next day. He was doing what any reasonable bloke in a fight with his girlfriend would do, hide and avoid.
This was going remarkably well. He only ate in the kitchens, arrived to all classes at the last possible second and left as soon as the bell rang. He even switched with Remus to do
Wednesday night rounds so he wouldn’t have to be alone with Lily that Friday. He was sure he could successfully avoid her until graduation even instead of Benji Fenwick waiting for him in the great hall, there in a hideous Christmas jumper stood one Lily Evans.
“I thought Remus had rounds” she said in her Best Head Girl voice.
“He did. We switched”
“If I was going to be stuck with one of your lot for rounds I wanted Remus”
“Your lot again, is it?”
“Let’s just do rounds I’m too tired to do this now.”
“Thanks. It’s my ‘two months till Christmas’ jumper”
Rounds had never been so awkward. Their interactions had never been so awkward. Total silence. So when Lily started humming James was almost relieved. That is until he realized what it was.
“Can you stop humming please?”
She did. Two minutes later however she started singing “Oh the weather outside is frightful”
“But the fire is so delightful”
“And since we’ve no place to go”
“Please.” he asked weakly.
“LET IT SNOW. LET IT SNOW. LET IT SNOW!”
“WOULD YOU BLOODY STOP. I don’t understand how the girl I’m dating could possibly sing that song on October 25.”
Lily crossed her arms and smirked, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud to all to hear!”
“it’s only -“
“I don’t care how many days it is till Christmas. I don’t care about your ruddy jumpers. I just care that Halloween is in a week and for no discernible reason you have decided that my favorite holiday should be besmirched with Santa and Rudolph!”
Lily tossed her red hair over one shoulder, “I just love Christmas. Christmas is my favorite”
“Christmas has enough! It has a whole church season! Halloween doesn’t have anything.”
Lily scoffed, “IT’S THE BIRTHDAY OF JESUS!”
Taking a step back, James said “maybe we should just- take a break until November”
“No,” Lily stated, “if we can’t even resolve this fight we should just end it. It was good while it lasted but maybe this is a sign.”
For the second time in less than a week, Lily left and James let her.
The next 7 days were transformative. It felt like 5th year again. Lily and James existing in separate bubbles. She was as good (if not better) than James at avoidance a fact he was more aware of because Sirius kept complaining of “that red-headed banshee trying to get out of our much needed ‘Chat with Evans’”
On Halloween morning, James couldn’t even be encouraged by their impending Best Prank Ever when the final nail in his coffin was delivered by Lily Evans flirting with Some Ravenclaw Bloke. Lily Evans who was a vision in some Christmas jumper that he was sure she called “her Halloween Christmas jumper”. Some Ravenclaw Bloke has just made her laugh and she was leaning over his shoulder to look at something. James realized he hadn’t looked at her in over a week and he had forgotten how lovely she was.
“That is it!” Sirius exclaimed.
Sirius threw down his bacon and stalked over to Lily, told Some Ravenclaw Bloke to “get bent” and dragged the redhead from the dining hall to what James was sure would be the most terrible “Chat with Evans” of all time.
As he started to imagine the lecture Lily was sure to get regarding Some Ravenclaw Bloke his thoughts were interrupted by Remus
“You know I hate to meddle Prongs but maybe you need to rethink this whole argument”
“It’s October Remus”
“I know but maybe this is Lily’s Thing.”
“The Thing you have to accept and then maybe try and understand. Lily didn’t get quidditch and was against it until she became our friend. She doesn’t like that you broke the law to help with my furry little problem but she respects it. You’ve got Things that she accepts about you.”
“She never told me she had a problem with any of that.”
Remus stared at James pointedly, “Because she loves you, you idiot, and didn’t want you to feel guiltier than you do.”
James swallowed deeply, “I’ve fucked up.”
Returning to his crossword, Remus said “I’d dare say you have.”
“What do I do Remus?”
“A grand dramatic gesture should do the trick.”
“The post feast party tonight. I’d say the actual feast but Lily is taking Samuel’s shift for rounds.”
“Who the bloody hell is Samuel?”
“The Ravenclaw she was talking to- he’s a prefect and wants to enjoy the feast with his boyfriend. Honestly, I thought you were head boy?”
After the realization that Some Ravenclaw Bloke was alright, James and Remus started plotting. Peter joined them after divination and at their lunch break in the kitchens Sirius arrived looking grim but smug.
“How was the ‘Chat with Evans’” Remus asked
“Bird is bloody stubborn. I also told Some Ravenclaw Bloke to leave my mates girl alone”
“who?” Asked Peter the same time James said “she’s not my girl”
“Samuel” Remus responded and there was a firm “Yes she is” from Sirius
“She won’t be if we don’t get the fuck to work” mumbled James.
The feast was excellent, the Best Prank Ever went off without a hitch and got a standing ovation from all the houses and professors. The fireworks were successful and didn’t catch anyone on fire. In the Gryffindor Common Room the Halloween Costume Party was in full swing. The Grand Romantic Gesture was all set up but the lady to woo was nowhere to be found. James felt absolutely ridiculous in his costume but Remus assured him it was the right choice. He was ready to abandon all hope when he heard a “trick or treat” from behind him.
He turned around to see the sexiest pumpkin of all time. Lily was wearing green tights and a ridiculous pumpkin costume. She was perfect and all James could say was “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas” through his pull on beard. With these words all the floating pumpkins began to sing
Gabaldon, Diana. The Scottish Prisoner: A Novel (Lord John Grey) (pp. 505-508). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Straw rustling under him, the ends poking through the rough ticking, prickling through his shirt. Dark air, alive around him.
Bonnie lad …
They’d brought down the Yule log to the house that afternoon, all the household taking part, the women bundled to the eyebrows, the men ruddy, flushed with the labor, staggering, singing, dragging the monstrous log with ropes, its rough skin packed with snow, a great furrow left where it passed, the snow plowed high on either side. Willie rode atop the log, screeching with excitement, clinging to the rope.
Once back at the house, Isobel had tried to teach him to sing “Good King Wenceslas,” but it was beyond him, and he dashed to and fro, into everything, until his grandmother declared that he would drive her to distraction and told Peggy to take him to the stable to help Jamie and Crusoe bring in the fresh-cut branches of pine and fir.
Thrilled, Willie rode on Jamie’s saddlebow to the grove and stood obediently on a stump where Jamie had put him, safe out of the way of the axes while the boughs were cut down. Then he helped to load the greenery, clutching two or three fragrant, mangled twigs to his chest, dutifully chucking these in the general direction of the huge basket, then running back again for more, heedless of where his burden actually landed.
Jamie turned over, wriggling deeper into the nest of blankets, drowsy, remembering. He’d kept it up, the wean had, back and forth, back and forth, though red in the face and panting, until he dropped the very last branch on the pile. Jamie had looked down to find Willie beaming up at him with pride, laughed, and said on impulse, “Aye, that’s a bonnie lad. Come on. Let’s go home.”
William had fallen asleep on the ride home, his head heavy as a cannonball in its woolen cap against Jamie’s chest. Jamie had dismounted carefully, holding the child in one arm, but Willie had wakened, blinked groggily at Jamie, and said, “WEN-sess-loss,” clear as a bell, then fallen promptly back asleep. He’d waked properly by the time he was handed over to Nanny Elspeth, though, and as Jamie walked away, he had heard Willie, as he walked away, telling Nanny, “I a bonnie lad!”
But those words came out of his dreams from somewhere else, and long ago. Had his own father said that to him once?
He thought so, and for an instant— just an instant— was with his father and his brother, Willie, excited beyond bearing, holding the first fish he’d ever caught by himself, slimy and flapping, both of them laughing at him, with him in joy. “Bonnie lad!”
Willie. God, Willie. I’m so glad they gave him your name. He seldom thought of his brother, but every now and then, he could feel Willie with him; sometimes his mother or his father. More often, Claire.
I wish ye could see him, Sassenach, he thought. He’s a bonnie lad. Loud and obnoxious, he added with honesty, but bonnie. What would his own parents think of William? They had neither of them lived to see any of their children’s children.
He lay for some time, his throat aching, listening to the dark, hearing the voices of his dead pass by in the wind. His thoughts grew vague and his grief eased, comforted by the knowledge of love, still alive in the world. Sleep came near again.
He touched the rough crucifix that lay against his chest and whispered to the moving air, “Lord, that she might be safe, she and my children.”
Then turned his cheek to her reaching hand and touched her through the veils of time.
This is the end of The Scottish Prisoner, and one of the reasons this is one of my favorite books.
This scene, with Jamie trying to keep warm in the hayloft of the barn at Helwater, would have likely been in mid-December of 1760. (Lord John had attended George II’s funeral just previous to this scene and the king was buried at Westminster Abby in November 1760).
Born in January 1758, William would have been just shy of his third birthday in December 1760, and I can imagine a chubby toddler in Jamie’s memories.
I'm watching Love Actually and it's making me think of your fic Special Relationship. The part where the Prime Minister is going around to the houses looking for Natalie but especially the part where the little girls are asking him to sing a Christmas carol.
Quick note: I was just going to jot down a brief drabble…and then this grabbed hold of me and it will now be a full-length chapter…I just have to finish my Secret Santa gifts first lol
Peggy dropped onto the most comfortable couch in 10 Downing Street–hideously yellow, over two hundred years old, and the softest thing imaginable–and kicked her feet up, her high heels flying toward the portrait of some stuffy, forgettable prime minister from three hundred years ago. Her briefcase, bright red and embossed with the seal of the PM in gold, sat on the table in front of her, right next to a generous three fingers of scotch.
She took a swig from the glass and popped the briefcase open. Right on top sat a stack of Christmas cards, wrapped in a rubber band. A sticky note written in Angie’s neat script was placed on the top card.
READ THESE - A RANDOM SAMPLE!
Peggy snorted. It was typical of Angie to “encourage” her to do the parts of the job she hated, like Prime Minister’s Questions or reading a bunch of cards from pretentious blowhards, with an exclamation point. It rarely worked, but she always gave Angie points for trying. She set the cards aside and rifled through the briefcase, which was full of files and briefings. She scowled at the idea of doing work on Christmas Eve. Intelligence and economics briefings were not conducive to Christmas cheer. Ever.
She sighed and pulled the rubber band from around the stack of cards, shooting it toward the far wall. She winced and whispered an apology as it struck Winston Churchill right in the nose.
She flipped through the stack quickly, each card containing a perfunctory greeting from MPs and members of the House of Lords. Midway through, a beautiful card caught her eye. It was a hand-drawn rendition of the White House Christmas Tree, and Peggy smiled. There was only one person who would have sent it to her.
Dear Peggy, it read, Merry Christmas. (Or is it Happy Christmas? You Brits say both and it is very confusing). My Christmas will not be as merry because you are not with me, and every day is a little less bright when I don’t get to see your face.
Angie promised she would sneak this card in for me, but I don’t know if you will see it in time for my Christmas wish to come true. The Howlers are having a reunion in London this year, and I want nothing more than to sneak away from the craziness and whisk you away. Waking up beside you on Christmas morning sounds like the greatest possible Christmas gift. It was a small miracle that I was able to come for this trip, but my security and protocol officers believe it would be improper to visit you, as it would be perceived as an official visit. I think it’s stupid, but presidents have less power than you may think.
I’ll be staying on High Street through Christmas day, in the area that Falsworth describes as the “dodgy end.” I don’t know if that means anything to you, or if you’ll get this card in time. If you do, I would love to see you. If you are reading this after the fact, know that each one of my thoughts are with you.
Merry Christmas, Peggy. I love you.
Peggy stared at the card, a wide grin spreading over her face. Steve was here, in London. It was the best Christmas gift she could have ever received. She pulled her phone out of her skirt pocket and pressed his speed dial. It rang four times and went to voicemail. She groaned and tried twice more, with no success.
She sighed–of course Steve would choose today not to answer his phone–and rang the motor pool for a car. She rushed to the door, clumsily sliding her shoes on as she went.
“I’m going out,” she told the cop at the door cheerfully. “Don’t wait up!”
She slid into the car and instructed the driver to head for High Street. “The dodgy end, if you please.”
The motorcade arrived in short order, and her driver said, “Here we are, ma’am. What’s the number?”
She peered out the window to see what was quite possibly the longest residential street in London. “Oh God. I have no idea.” And Steve still wasn’t picking up his bloody phone. She heaved a sigh and got out of the car. They would have to do this the old fashioned way.
She knocked on the first door on the street, a one hanging prominently against the wood. The door swung open to reveal an elderly woman.
“Hello, is there a Steve staying here?”
The woman shook her head. “No, sorry.”
“Right,” Peggy replied, turning away. “Thank you, sorry to disturb your evening.”
“Wait a minute. Aren’t you the Prime Minister?”
Peggy spun back around with a wince. She had been hoping to avoid this exact scenario. “Um. Yes? Merry Christmas?”
The woman let out a happy sigh, and Peggy soldiered on. “Yes, it’s part of the service now. Trying to get around to everyone by New Years. Have a lovely evening.”
She all but sprinted to the next house, not wishing to get stuck talking to constituents this evening. The next twenty or so houses passed by easily. Most people were either out or eager to get back to their families, so they didn’t linger beyond a polite “No, sorry,” when Peggy asked after Steve.
The door to Number 56 opened to an empty foyer. Peggy stared into the house, unsure what to do. She heard a loud cough below her line of sight, and she looked down to see three young girls, all adorned in tutus, watching her expectantly.
“Well, hello. Is there a Steve staying here?”
“No, there isn’t,” one of the girls replied, the other two nodding sagely.
“Oh dear,” Peggy sighed, turning away.
“Are you singing carols?” the same girl asked, hands on her hips.
“Oh, no. No, I’m not.”
“Please, ma’am, please,” a second girl said, and the other two chimed in until their pleading was all Peggy could hear.
She exchanged a glance with the officer accompanying her. “Well, I suppose I could, if you’d like.”
The girls cheered, and Peggy took a fortifying breath. She was good at many things, but singing was not one of them.
“Right. Um,” Peggy dithered, desperately wishing she had just said goodbye and went on her way. “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen”
She looked to the officer, who chimed in with a spectacular voice, much to her surprise. “When the snow lay roundabout, deep and crisp and even.”
Peggy and the officer finished the verse with only a little embarrassment as the girls danced around the foyer, laughing and kicking their feet in the air to an unknown rhythm. She extricated herself as graciously as possible, though she was exceedingly grateful that no one in the next dozen homes mistook them for carolers.
At Number 100, Peggy knocked on the door weakly, her excitement at seeing Steve tempered by the many blocks of walking in her impractical heels and without a coat. She was tired and shivering, and when the door opened to reveal a young woman in a pajama set, her shoulders slumped.
“Hello. Is Steve staying here?” she asked wearily, already preparing herself for the inevitable answer.
“No,” the young woman replied, and Peggy turned away, disappointed. “Though there is some sort of reunion next door, and I thought I heard someone say the name Steve. There’s been police cars and limos and everything over the last day or so.”
Peggy slowly spun on her heel, scarcely believing what she had just heard. “Oh. That’s brilliant. Thanks!”
“You’re not who I think you are, are you?” the woman asked.
Peggy chuckled wryly. “Yes, I’m rather afraid I am. I apologize on behalf of my government, we’ll do better next year. Merry Christmas.”
She took the few steps between 100 and 102, heart squeezing in her chest. She missed Steve terribly–phone calls and video chats were a very poor substitution to his presence, and now that she was in front of the door where he was likely staying, she worried that this was a dream, that she would wake up alone in her big house on Christmas morning, this whole night a scotch-flavored figment of her imagination.
She squared her shoulders and rapped on the door. Better to try and fail than never try at all. The door swung open, and she was blasted by warm air and boisterous laughter. The entryway was full of big, burly men dressed in truly horrid Christmas sweaters, and they all went silent at the sight of her on the doorstep.
Peggy cleared her throat. “Um, right. Hello, is Steve staying here?”
They all looked curiously at her, and she fidgeted in the doorway. She thought she could see Barnes’ face in the back of the group, but it was difficult to be sure.
As Peggy and the occupants of the house were locked in some strange sort of showdown, heavy footsteps came down the stairs. Steve appeared at the top of the landing, shouting, “Hey, where’d you assholes put my phone? It wasn’t funny when I first ran, and it isn’t funny now–”
He froze in his tracks halfway down the stairs at the sight of Peggy in the doorway, still in her suit, a run in her stockings and her updo on the edge of collapse. “Peggy?”
She sighed in relief. “Hello, Steve.”
The Commandos turned in unison to face Steve, whose cheeks flushed under their scrutiny. “Right. Guys, this is Prime Minister Peggy Carter. Peg, these are the Howling Commandos, my old unit. Dum Dum, Gabe, Jim, Monty, Jacques, and you remember Bucky,” he said, pointing out each of the men as he listed them off.
“Gentlemen.” Peggy nodded at the group and resisted the urge to give a pathetic half-wave. She had been in plenty of weird, uncertain situations as both spy and politician, and she thought she had tamped down her worst, most awkward instincts, but apparently meeting her boyfriend’s friends brought them all back with a vengeance.
Before she could completely humiliate herself, Steve sprinted down the last few steps and just about bowled her over in a bear hug, wrapping his huge arms around her waist and lifting her off the ground. Her stomach swooped as her feet left the pavement, and she let out an embarrassingly girlish giggle.
“I missed you,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear.
“I missed you too,” she replied in the same tone. She patted his shoulder and, at a normal volume, said, “Now put me down. People will talk.”
Delight your friends, irritate your enemies, and please yourself by declaring war on Christmas with this dark tribute to the coldest time of the year, where death walks the streets and the days are short and brutal.
I made one of these years ago, and I looked back at it this year and thought…I can do better.
Sting - Ghost Story | Girlyman - St. Peter’s Bones | Florence + The Machine - The Dog Days Are Over | Martin Simpson - The Devil’s Partiality | SImon & Garfunkel - A Hazy Shade Of Winter | Loreena McKennitt - Good King Wenceslas | Leftover Cuties - Everyone (Is A Little Crazier) | Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah | The Mamas And The Papas - California Dreaming | John Denver and The Muppets - When The River Meets The Sea | Tracy Grammer - Hey Ho | Thea Gilmore - Rags And Bones | The Watersons - Souling Song | The Kipper Family - Loco In Transit | The Mountain Goats - Wizard Buys A Hat | Everclear - I Will Buy You A New Life | Musica Sacra and Garrison Keillor - Double Carol | King’s Singers - Carol Of The Bells | Artist Unknown - The Old Churchyard
You might be reaching too hard to flaunt your leftist superiority...
…if you publish an article on the “10 worst Christmas songs of all time” and the list includes not “Santa Baby”, not the insipid cheesiness that is “Christmas Shoes”, but “Good King Wenceslas” of all things, and the reason you give is this:
“…the song is deeply problematic for its recommendation of individual philanthropy as a panacea for inequality rather than fundamental economic reforms.”
Tune in next time for our analysis of “And did those feet in ancient time”, where we prove how deeply problematic and anti-human the English Anthem is for failing to acknowledge that Jerusalem cannot be built on England’s green and pleasant land without a centralised government and redistribution of wealth.
Need a Little Christmas
(1/most likely 3) - A GFSS fic
SANDRA!!!!! You must have guessed it was me who was so super late at posting your GFSS present. I tried so hard to be timely but life and muses and holidays conspired to make that impossible. But finally the first part of your gift, my lovely @laschatzi - a bit of banter, a bit of humour (I hope), some silly outfits and hopefully a tiny bit in the gutter direction eventually :-)
(PS - I had a go at the world’s simplest heading banner thingy. The visuals helped in writing, hopefully they will help in reading too!)
Need a Little Christmas
There were a number of things that Emma Swan did not enjoy about Christmas.
Untangling herself from the myriad of fairy lights her sister-in-law insisted on stringing across her apartment; finding new and unusual places to hide slices of Granny’s rock-hard fruitcake; avoiding handsy Uncle Leroy any time she found herself under the mistletoe.
There was, however, one notable exception…not that she would ever, ever admit it.
As far as her friends were concerned, Emma’s choice of Christmas wear was 100% a political statement on the ridiculousness of holiday consumerism, or the wasteful nature of Christmas decorations or whatever other tenuous link to a cause she was able to create on the spur of the moment.
In reality, however - Emma Swan loved the kitschy glory of a truly awful Christmas sweater. Adored the scratchy feel of acrylic, the garish reds and greens accented with the tackiest of tinsels. It was everything that she wanted to think of Christmas as being - fun and whimsical and joyful - and everything her actual memories were not.
But somehow, regaling the gathered Christmas crowd with sad tales of your childhood in the foster care system did nothing for the ambience around the dinner table - so half assed political statements it was.
Tonight’s offering was particularly spectacular, if she said so herself; an especially potent shade of green, offset with clashing red patterns and finished with a dainty Peter Pan collar, embroidered with holly. Only a tiny sliver of garish green had alerted her to its presence - but that was all it took for Emma to know she had found a prize. The internet was awash with ugly sweaters these days, she knew, but there was something about the hunt, the methodical search and recover operation of finding the perfect item in a thrift store that appealed to Emma’s determined soul. Emma Swan always got her mark - in work and in holiday festivities and that wasn’t about to change because #uglyxmassweater was now a thing.
Throwing aside a collection of hand knitted scarves, she reached for the trophy, only to find herself engaged in a tug of war with a man on the other side of the bin. Tugging the sleeve towards her sharply, he lost his footing, tumbling slightly before letting go of the sweater and steadying himself against the metal cage. Long fingers grasped the metal, a silver ring on his thumb catching her eye as he righted himself.
Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even; Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.
“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling, Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?” “Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain; Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”
“Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither: Thou and I shall see him dine, when we bear them thither. ” Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together; Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.
“Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger; Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.” “Mark my footsteps, good my page. Tread thou in them boldly Thou shalt find the winter’s rage freeze thy blood less coldly.”
In his master’s step he trod, where the snow lay dinted. Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed. Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing, ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.