Characters: Meriel, Nosy, Ianto, Jack, OC.
Word Count: 1786
Summary: Christmas is only a few weeks away and this year Meriel and Nosy are getting their very own Christmas tree to decorate all by themselves.
Written For: Challenge 284: Decoration at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Christmas was Meriel’s very favourite time of year, not just because she got lots of presents from Santa, almost as many as she got on her birthday, but because of all the pretty, sparkly decorations. Like her Daddy, she loved colours and sparkles, the brighter the better.
Today was December the first, the day the Christmas decorations were always put up, and both her Daddy and her Taddy had taken the day off work so that the whole family could put them up together, with nobody being left out of the fun. Better still, now that Meriel was six-years-old and therefore a big girl who could be trusted to be careful, her daddies had said that she and Nosy could have a little tree of their own in their bedroom, with pretty baubles and tinsel, and all sorts of other lovely things.
First though, she and Nosy had helped her daddies decorate the two big trees in the living room, Nosy hanging the baubles on the lowest branches, Meriel decorating the ones a little higher up, while Daddy and Taddy made the top halves of the trees all pretty. Then Meriel got to sit on her Daddy’s shoulders, as she had last Christmas and the one before, to put the star and the Christmas angel in place, one right at the very top of each tree.
After that, her daddies climbed the big stepladder to hang the paper chains Meriel had made all across the ceiling in big, brightly coloured loops, and she helped by passing things up to them while Nosy held the ladder steady. Other decorations were hung around the walls, and Meriel helped her Daddy wind tinsel around the banisters of the stairs up to his and Taddy’s bedroom, and along the railings that kept people from accidentally falling off the indoor balcony.
When indoors was finished, as it wasn’t raining, they all went outside to put up some lights that would make the roof garden pretty now there were hardly any flowers left. Taddy said that most flowers didn’t like cold weather, it made them go brown and soggy, and fall off, but Daddy had got lots of special pansies that didn’t mind the cold so much, and planted them everywhere, in the flowerbeds and tubs to bring a bit of cheer to the dullness of winter. Meriel liked pansies; they made her think of happy, smiling faces, and there were so many different colours!
By the time the outside lights were up, ready to be switched on as soon as it got dark, they were all feeling cold so they went back indoors for lunch, baked beans on toast and a big mug of hot chocolate; proper cold weather food, Daddy said. It was all food Nosy could eat too, so that was even better.
They sat on the floor around the coffee table to eat, and Taddy put Christmas music on because he said it was festive. Then he told Daddy off for trying to sing along while he was eating. It wasn’t a good idea to sing with your mouth full. Meriel told Daddy he was gross, which made him laugh. That wasn’t a good idea with a full mouth either. Taddy rolled his eyes and said this was why he couldn’t take Daddy anywhere in polite company, and Daddy said he preferred impolite company anyway. Meriel wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but it made Taddy roll his eyes again.
Once she’d helped Taddy take the dishes into the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher, Meriel looked up at her daddies.
“Can Nosy and me decorate our tree now?” It was still sitting at the top of the steps leading to the flat’s entrance hall, where coats and shoes were left when people came inside.
“Of course you can, Princess,” Daddy said. “Just give your Taddy and I a few minutes to carry it to your room.”
It was quite a big tree, taller than Meriel herself although not so tall that she couldn’t reach the top; she’d made a little angel decoration at school that she was going to put there. The tree was heavy too, and took both of her daddies to carry it in its tub down the stairs, across the living room, through the archway, and into the big bedroom Meriel shared with her fluffy best friend. Meriel ran ahead of them to make sure there was nothing in the way that they might trip over, and then her Daddy came through the door backwards, squeezing the tree through, it bushy branches brushing the sides. It only just fitted. Taddy came through behind the tree, and then Nosy slithered in last of all, having kept well out of the way so it didn’t get accidentally trodden on.
“Where do you want your tree, sweetheart?” Taddy asked, sounding a bit out of breath.
“In this corner, please Taddy.” Meriel had already moved her big beanbag and the stuffed toys that usually lived there to make plenty of space for her tree.
Puffing a bit, her daddies set the tree down, leaving enough room so that Meriel could walk right around it and hang decorations on the back. Taddy fussed a bit, turning the tree in its tub this way and that until he was sure the best and busiest side of it was facing out into the room, and by the time he was satisfied, Daddy was back with a big box of decorations.
“Here you go, Princess.” He set the box down near the tree, fuzzy strands of tinsel spilling over the sides. “If you two need any help with anything you know where to find us. Have fun!” Then he and Taddy left the room; they probably had important grown-up things to do.
“Our own tree!” Meriel grinned at Nosy, almost bouncing with excitement. “Isn’t it wonderful?”
“HUMMMM!” Nosy agreed enthusiastically.
“Let’s get all the decorations out of the box first so we can see what we’ve got, then we can decide where to put them.”
Carefully Meriel scooped the pile of tinsel out and set it to one side, then she and Nosy lifted out packets of decorations. Someone, probably her Taddy, had already opened all the packets so she could get at everything more easily. Her Taddy was thoughtful like that.
There were so many things! Round, sparkly baubles in every colour imaginable, silver bells, brightly painted little birds, wooden angels and snowmen and little Santa Claus figures, and white snowflakes. The packet said they were glow-in-the-dark, and so did the packet of stars. Their tree was going to look beautiful at night. Meriel spread everything out; there must have been at least a hundred decorations, along with a pot of the little plastic hooks for hanging them on the tree. There was lots of tinsel too, surely far too much for the tree, but that was alright because there were plenty of other places they could put it.
“Okay, why don’t you start at the bottom and work upwards, and I’ll start at the top and work down, and we’ll met in the middle.”
Nosy hummed agreement; it could reach nearly three feet off the ground if it tried, but the bottom of the tree would be easier.
The afternoon flew by as the two friends worked away, hanging baubles and other things, asking each other if this looked right for this spot, or if that other one would be better. When it started to get dark, Meriel turned the light on, but by then they were nearly done, with just the angel to put at the top. Meriel set it carefully in its place; it was a bit wonky but the glitter on it sparkled in the light and looked lovely.
“There, all done. What do you think, Nosy?”
“HUM!” Nosy goggled at the tree from one side and then the other, humming happily.
“Now we just have to decide what we’re going to do with the things we’ve got left.”
They found other places around the room for the remaining decorations and tinsel, because it wouldn’t be right not to use them all. The tinsel made their bunk beds pretty, and the few remaining baubles, stars, and snowflakes were easy enough to hang from her bookshelves and the corkboard on the wall where Meriel pinned up pretty pictures and her drawings. She was just pinning the last couple of snowflakes to the board when there was a tap on the door and Taddy popped his head inside.
“Meriel, Nosy, time to get washed up for dinner.”
“Okay, Taddy. Come see our tree first?”
“I’d love to. Just let me get Daddy and the camera, then you and Nosy can have your picture taken, something to put in your scrapbook and keep forever.”
Meriel thought that was a wonderful idea, since the decorations would have to come down again after Christmas. Her Taddy was so clever! Daddy said Taddy knew everything, and Meriel believed him.
Taddy was back a few minutes later with his camera and Daddy, who of course wanted to have his picture taken with the tree as well, even though all he’d done was help carry it into Meriel’s bedroom. Daddy always liked having his picture taken, and pouted if he didn’t get his way, so Taddy took pictures of Meriel and Nosy with their tree, then Meriel and the tree, and one with Nosy curled around the tub, and then a few with Daddy as well. That didn’t seem fair, so Meriel said Daddy should take some pictures of her, Nosy, Taddy, and the tree.
After that, Taddy hurried out of Meriel’s room saying if they weren’t careful dinner would be overdone. Well, she supposed all the photographs had taken quite a long time. Daddy followed Taddy to help him dish up, after telling Meriel to wash her hands before coming to the table, which of course she did. Hands absolutely had to be clean at mealtimes in case she needed to use her fingers for anything.
Coming out of her bathroom, she paused in the bedroom doorway for a moment, looking back at her tree, before turning out the light and following Nosy to the dinner table; she was hungry, lunch had been hours ago, and dinner smelled very good. She’d have plenty of time later to enjoy her tree, she could lie in bed awake late into the night, just looking at the way the stars and snowflakes glowed, and maybe even leave her curtains open to see all her Christmas decorations sparkling brightly in the moonlight.
Meriel was already sure this was going to be her most magical Christmas ever!