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Deck the Halls!

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"The season is Christmas. December 24th, to be exact. And young (F/N) (L/N), aged 19 years, 4 months ,16 days, 20 hours and 11 minutes, is visiting her favorite place; The Pie Hole." 

"Almost got it!" You said as you leaned a little farther, trying to get the last of the Christmas lights strung along the giant pie crust on the sign of The Pie Hole. 

"Are you sure you can do it?" Olive Snook asked as she stood at the base of the ladder you were on, holding it steady so it didn't fall over. "I don't want you to hurt yourself or become a pancake on the sidewalk."

"No no." You replied. "I can do this. I lean...a few... more inches." You said as you leaned a little farther to reach the last hook which was just outside of your arm's length. "Al...most.....there." 

Suddenly, the ladder started to tip a bit and Olive let out a high pitched yelp as her hand slipped and the ladder teetered. Thankfully, you had quick reflexes and grabbed onto the edge of the pie crust, wrapping your feet around the top of the ladder and stopping it from falling. You actually succeeded in gently placing the ladder on the ground and standing yourself on the rung right below the top without falling over once.

"Yes!" You shouted, throwing your hands up in triumph. "I'm a ninja!" You almost fell over again but grabbed the pie crust to keep yourself steady. Afterwards, You reached forward and got the lights strung over the last hook then looked down at Olive and laughed when you saw her standing at the base of the ladder with her hand on her chest, breathing heavily after the little scare she had. "Oh my gosh!" You said as you descended the ladder. "Did you hear yourself? You yelped like a chihuahua!" 

"Oh, was that me that made that noise?" Olive said. "I thought it was you." 

"No, that most definitely was not me." You said with a laugh. Olive blushed at your laughter "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone." You said with a wink. She gave you an appreciative smile and the two of you stood back to admire your handiwork. The crust of the giant pie on the sign was draped with white hanging lights while the underside of the crust, where all the windows and the door was, was decorated with many multicolored lights. 

"It looks beautiful!" Olive said. "Ned will love it!"

"You think?" You said. "You don't think it's too much, do you?"

"Not at all."

"Good. Now let's go inside. I'm freezing my tail off out here!" With that, you and Olive went back inside The Pie Hole to start decorating it's interior.

"(F/N) loved visiting The Pie Hole more than she loved the pies that were made there, and that was saying a lot since she loved the pies more than she loved breathing, and breathing was one of her favorite things to do. But why did she love The Pie Hole so much? Because she loved the friends she had made there. Olive Snook being one. And also dear old Digby. And of course, Ned the pie maker, the girl called Chuck and even Emerson Cod." 

The bell on the door rang just as you and Olive finished hanging the icicle-like decorations on the arch over the pie display.

"Wow! Look at this place!" Chuck exclaimed as she, Ned and Emerson walked through the door. "This is beautiful!" 

"Yeah." Ned agreed. "We saw the lights hanging outside. It's very bright and...Christmasy. We don't usually decorate the outside that much...often. It's very....distracting. Did you do all this yourself?"

You smiled at his awkward babbling that you found so cute. "No." You replied as you got off the step stool you were standing on. "I had a little help from this beautiful woman here." You said as you gave Olive a side hug, which she returned with a smile. "I couldn't have done it without her." You then walked over to Chuck and gave her a warm hug. "Merry Christmas!" You said.

"Merry Christmas!" She replied. You pulled away from her and turned to Ned, who shrugged. 

"I'd give you a hug if I wasn't so freakishly tall." He said. 

"Oh, just hug me, you dork!" You said. Ned smiled then awkwardly leaned down and hugged you. "Merry Christmas!" You said.

"Merry Christmas." He replied. You pulled away from him and playfully ruffled his hair. You then turned to Emerson, who cocked an eyebrow at you. 

"I'm not hugging you." He said. "No matter what you say."

You grinned. "I never said you had to." Then, you threw your arms around him without a word, making Emerson gasp.

"Let go of me, please." He said as he tried to push you away. But that only made you hold on tighter. 

"You know." You said. "The more you resist, the harder I cling."

Emerson rolled his eyes. "You're making me extremely uncomfortable. Please let go."

"I know you like it." You said.

"Yeah, sure." He said sarcastically. "This is the highlight of my life. Now, let go before I change my mind." 

You let go and raised your hands defensively. "As you wish, Mr. Grinch." Emerson gave you a frown which you ignored. "Good timing!" You said to them all. "You can help us decorate the tree now." You pointed to a large Christmas tree in the corner. "Olive and I went Christmas tree shopping earlier." 

"Yes, we did." Olive said as she brought out a large box of Christmas tree decorations. "And it took forever to find the right tree."

"Well, I think you did a wonderful job!" Chuck said. Ned nodded in agreement as they all removed their coats and hung them up. Emerson chose to be an old grump and sit by himself at one of the tables while the rest of you decorated the tree. With the four of you, it was a quick and enjoyable process. And thankfully, Ned was tall enough that he could reach the higher branches. All the while, you could feel the joy and excitement of the season stir inside you and suddenly, you felt like singing!

"Yes, (F/N) loved her friends and she loved The Pie Hole. But, there was one thing that she loved equally as much as either. She loved music, of any kind. And...she loved to sing. She would sing anything at anytime and anywhere. And, she always sang spontaneously."

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly!" You started to sing. "Fa la la la la, la la la la!"

"Oh no." Emerson said with a groan. "Here we go again."

"Tis the season to be jolly!" You continued. "Fa la la la la, la la la la!" 

"Will someone please make her stop?" Emerson said. Everyone else just laughed at his frustration.

"Don we now our gay apparel! Fa la la, fa la la, la la la!" You sang. "Come on, Olive! You have a beautiful voice. Sing with me!"

"Troll the ancient Yuletide carol!" Olive sang.

"Fa la la la la, la la la la!" You both sang together. "Chuck?" You said.

"See the blazing Yule before us!" Chuck sang. "Fa la la la la, la la la la!"

"Seriously, people!" Emerson said. "Stop!"

"Ned?" You said, ignoring Emerson. 

"Strike the harp and join the chorus!" Ned sang. "Fa la la la la, la la la la!" 

"Wonderful." Emerson muttered. "Now I have a migraine." 

But the rest of you just ignored him as you continued singing together. 

"Follow me in merry measure!
Fa la la, la la la, la la la!
While I sing a Christmas treasure!
Fa la la la, la la la la!
Fast away the old year passes!
Fa la la la la, la la la la!
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
Fa la la la la, la la la la!
Sing we joyous, all together!
Fa la la, la la la, la la la!
Heedless of the wind and weather
Fa la la la la, la la la la!"

"As Emerson Cod sat to the side and pouted like the old Scrooge he was, the rest of them merrily sang their hearts out as they continued decorating their tree. As they did, (F/N) brought out a the presents she had bought for her friends. For Chuck, she bought a bee hive shaped honey jar for her to keep her honey in. For Olive, it was a magenta colored blow dryer with tiger print as she had requested. For Digby, she gave a bag of bacon flavored dog treats wrapped in bow. And for Ned, she bought a set of stainless steel rolling pins with different colored handles. And in exchange, Ned gave her a whole tin of his famous apple pie that he had baked just for her as her Christmas present, since it was her favorite. The last person to receive a present from (F/N) was Emerson Cod."

"Here you go, Emerson." You said as you handed him his Christmas present in a holiday bag. 

Emerson raised his eyebrows in disbelief. "You got me a present, really?"

"Of course I did." You said. "And don't fret. If you didn't get me anything, which I'm about 96% sure you did not, don't worry. I'm sure that my present to you will give you some ideas." You smiled at him and simply skipped away to go help the others. Emerson frowned in confusion a bit then unwrapped his gift. His eyebrows shot up when he saw the new set of knitting needles and several different colored balls of yarn you had bought him for Christmas.

"Then, for the first time that entire day, Emerson Cod smiled a bit."

"The presents were just wonderful, (F/N)." Chuck said. "Thank you!"

"You're welcome!" You said. "And thank you for the pie, Ned. You're an angel!"

Ned gave you a crooked smile. "Anything for you." He said as he finished the last task of putting the star on the tree. He got off the step stool he was on and you all took a step back to admire it.

"Simply beautiful!" You said.

"Yes, it is." Ned said with a smile.

"But Ned was not talking about the tree. He was looking at the girl on his right, the girl he called Chuck. She smiled back at him. Then, Ned and Chuck both reached behind their own backs and held their own hands, pretending that they were holding each other's hands, like they had done so many times before. And (F/N) saw this little gesture that Ned and Chuck were doing. But, it was no mystery to her. She knew the reason why they could not touch. She knew about Ned's secret gift, and she knew Chuck's secret too. And she felt sorry for them both. Being their friend, she wanted to help them somehow. That's when she got an idea!"

DING! That little light bulb in your head turned on. You trotted over and squeezed yourself in between Chuck and Ned. 

"Pardon me!" You chirped. Then, you held your right hand out to Chuck. "Chuck, take my hand." You said. Chuck looked at you with confusion but did as you said anyway. You then turned to Ned and held your left hand out to him. "Take my hand, Ned." Ned looked at you for a moment then smiled when he realized what you were doing.

"At this moment, (F/N) decided that she was going to be the conductor for Ned and Chuck's spark. By holding their hands, she was connecting them to each other. Through her, they were touching."

"Thank you." Ned said as he gently grabbed your hand.

"Anything for you." You said. You looked at Chuck who was smiling at you. "If this seems awkward, just imagine that your holding each other's hands." You said. "Meanwhile, I'll just imagine that I'm holding your hands, which I am."

Suddenly, Olive came up from behind you and wrapped her arms around your waist in a hug. "And I won't pretend that I'm hugging you, I'll just do it." She said. 

"Aw!" You said. "If my hands weren't busy right now, I would hug you back. So, I'll just pretend I am. While I'm at it, I'll also pretend that Emerson is hugging me too." Emerson rolled his eyes at that remark. You simply laughed with everyone else then, like before, you spontaneously burst into a song of "We wish you a Merry Christmas". 

"And a Merry Christmas it was indeed. Even Emerson Cod thought so, since he started singing along with everyone in secret. And for once, there were no dead bodies."