Title: One Winter's Night
Author: Roxy Parkington
Summary: Written for the Bulbagarden New Year's Fic Exchange, this was for Tygerofdanyte, who requested that I write a story with an original pairing. Reviews are appreciated. The Sabrina in this ficlet isn't the one most of us might have in mind; they just share the same name.
The Christmas season was a special time in New Bark Town, Johto, not only because of the joy of the holidays, but because people from bustling metropolitan cities like Goldenrod or Olivine would stop by to take a break and admire the décor. When covered with a seamless blanket of white, the entire town looked like a Christmas card, and everyone who visited went home happy.
Lights were aglow both indoors and outdoors at the Parkington residence as four-year-old Roxanne and her mother, brown-haired Sabrina, finished putting icing and sprinkles on the cookies they were making for Santa Claus…and in celebration of Jonathan Parkington, Roxy’s father, coming home for Christmas. Roxy pulled back a wisp of dark blond hair and held the cookie up for her mother to see. It was a misshapen-looking man coated in green sprinkles.
“Does this look like Daddy to you?” she asked innocently, looking over her masterpiece with a disappointed expression. “I don’t think Santa will like it because it’s shaped like Daddy and not like him.”
“Oh, don’t worry, you can give Daddy the cookie; I’m sure he’ll love it that you thought of him,” Sabrina smiled as she gave her daughter a partial embrace. “He’ll probably be calling us any minute now to say that he’s close to the house. The ship docked at Olivine, so he’s been on the road for eight hours or so.”
“Well then, I’ll be ready when he calls!” Roxy replied in an equally cheerful voice, but her greenish blue eyes strayed longingly to the front window, where the group of neighborhood children were staging a snowball fight. Some of the older kids had come home for Christmas and were standing out in the snow as they helped their fire Pokemon build a warm fire. Roxy had never been to see Professor Elm, the young new professor of Pokemon, but she was well aware by now that Cyndaquil was one of the starters he issued to kids in the town when they turned ten years old.
Sabrina took note of her daughter’s thoughtful expression. “You can go out, just so long as you remember to bundle up. Your heavy blue coat’s in the hall closet, so I’ll help you put it on.” Roxy’s face immediately transformed from boredom to sheer delight as she dropped the cookie she was holding and ran to the closet underneath the stairs, pulling out the sky blue coat she wore during the winter months. Sabrina dusted the flour onto her apron before untying it and coming over to help her daughter slip her arms into the sleeves. In a flash, Roxy had pulled on her coat and was plunging into the fresh snow.
“Be innocent for as long as you can, Roxanne,” Sabrina whispered softly as she returned to finishing the icing for the cookies.
“Hi Roxy, want to help me build a snow Pikachu?” Zoë Hamilton, the little girl who lived next door to the Parkingtons, asked as Roxy floundered through the snow over to her. The four-year-old’s cheeks were rosy from being out in the cold longer than Roxy had been, but she was energetic all the same. “I’ve already started on it; if Anastasia were here, she could help. She’s a big girl, so she can make snow Pokemon better than us.”
“Yeah, but she’s been at boarding school since September,” Roxy answered, beginning to fashion a head for the Pikachu out of the snow and thinking fondly of her six-year-old sister. “She won’t be back until I turn five years old, but she’s coming home tomorrow for vacation.” She put up five fingers for emphasis before handing the snowball to Zoë. “Here, you work on the ears while I find a face for Pikachu.”
“Back so soon?” Sabrina asked curiously as her daughter returned a few minutes later.
“Yeah,” Roxy answered, breathing heavily. “We need some stuff to make a face for a snow Pikachu or he’ll get cold out there.” Sabrina smiled fondly, remembering when she and her older sisters used to make snow Pokemon together in the winter.
“If you look in my knitting drawer, I think I have a few spare black buttons you and Zoë could use as eyes for Pikachu.”
“Really?” Roxy asked excitedly, her eyes alight. “I’m never allowed to look in your knitting drawer.”
“Well, because it’s close to Christmas I’ll make an exception just once,” Sabrina answered, but Roxy had already torn across the living room and was pulling open the drawer as she spoke. She held the two black buttons up to the light and grinned.
“Perfect! Thank you, Mommy!” Roxy called as she skidded outside into the snow again.
“Did you get the eyes?” Zoë asked excitedly upon seeing that her friend had returned. “I finished the ears on the Pikachu, see?” She stepped back with a playful flourish and both girls giggled. “Since I was done, I went home and got an old scarf for him. Now all he needs is a pair of eyes and a nose so he can see the Christmas lights and smell the snow. I’ve got the nose!”
“And I’ve got the eyes!” Roxy finished, pressing them into the Pikachu’s face and stepping back as if to introduce herself; Zoë pushed the nose in and draped the scarf across his neck as a finishing touch.
“It looks nice, your daddy’s going to love him!” Zoë commented with a grin of innocence. “Want to make snow angels until he comes home? I’ll wait with you if you want.”
“Thanks, Zoë,” Roxy replied softly, her gaze distant. “Last one to the snow is a rotten Exeggcute!” The little girl took off, her friend hot on her heels.
“You’re on!” Zoë laughed.
A few hours later, Roxy was safe and warm at home, but Jonathan Parkington was nowhere to be found. When she and Anastasia were smaller, it had become customary for both of them to wait for Daddy at the front window in their dining room, and even this close to Christmas Roxy wasn’t about to break their tradition. All the same, what could be taking him so long?
“Daddy won’t be late, right?” Roxy asked, pausing to poke her head in the kitchen and grab a cookie in the bargain. “Did he call while I was gone?”
“No, he can take care of himself; he would only call if he had to,” Sabrina answered, laying the freshly baked cookies aside and meandering into the living room, where a bright, warm fire was burning in their humble fireplace. Roxy snuggled onto her mother’s lap once she had taken a seat in her favorite rocking chair and Sabrina ruffled her blond hair in turn. Although no words were spoken between them, their fear was unanimous: would Jonathan come home?
A loud, masculine-sounding rap at the door pulled the little girl from her thoughts and she wiggled out of her mother’s arms to answer it. Sabrina lingered in the family room for awhile longer, so she wasn’t the first person to see the lean, good-looking man in his early thirties standing in the doorway. His cheeks, too, were pink from the cold, but Roxy’s eyes were aglow as she threw herself into the man’s arms.
“DADDY!” she exclaimed, the scream resounding through the house. “You’re back, you’re back!”
“Now, now, Roxy, don’t be throwing yourself into the arms of strange—” came Sabrina’s voice from behind her, but she found her breath cut off. “Oh…Jonathan,” was all she could say when she was able to speak.
“Hi, hon,” Jonathan Parkington grinned over Roxy’s shoulder at his wife as he removed his hood to reveal slightly damp blond hair from the snow.
“We’ll talk later, Jonathan, you spend time with Roxy,” Sabrina whispered in a low voice as she retreated back to the family room. Once she was gone, Jonathan was able to pull his daughter from his neck and look into her shining eyes with a smile.
“I told you I’d be home for Christmas…and I meant it,” he said, taking her small hand in his and leading her out into the fresh snow. “Come with me, Roxy, there’s something I want you to see.”
“What is it, Daddy?” Roxy asked, nearly skipping beside him to keep up.
“Let’s just say it’s an early Christmas present for you; it’s in the car,” her father answered with the slightest smirk.
“But I’m not an it, Dad, you know that!” a childish voice cried as someone stepped out of the car from the back seat. The older blond girl got out, her face wrapped in a faux fur muffler and coat, and Roxy barreled her over into the snow.
“Anastasia, I’m going to get you!” she grinned, pinning her older sister down and tickling her in the snow. Jonathan couldn’t hide his smile this time.
“Still up late? I just put the girls to bed.” Jonathan’s voice slightly startled Sabrina from staring into the flames and she felt herself shift in her chair, a small smile and blush creeping across her face.
“I’m sorry, it’s just so strange having you home,” Sabrina answered finally. She got up and padded softly into the living room, where the Christmas tree stood aglow, cheerful and…bare underneath. That would all change within the space of a few days, of course, Sabrina thought.
“Well, that’s understandable,” Jonathan answered with a scratch of his head. “I’m rarely home, am I?”
“Don’t be sarcastic,” Sabrina snapped teasingly in return. “I do love it when you’re home.”
“And to think there was a time when you didn’t like me,” Jonathan answered, reaching to pull her to her feet. Sabrina laughed.
“Yes, but that was years ago; I was twelve and stupid.”
“You slammed doors in my face,” Jonathan continued.
“I totally ignored you,” Sabrina added.
“And I fell in love with you,” Jonathan grinned, brushing several wisps of hair off her forehead. “Actually, I fell in love with you when you were twelve years old,” he reflected. “Hey, look up.”
“Why?” Sabrina asked with arched eyebrows.
“It’s quite simple: there’s mistletoe up there.”
“What—” Sabrina started, but she was cut off as Jonathan enveloped her into his arms. For Sabrina, the world always seemed to whirl around when she was in her husband’s arms, and that was a good thing, she supposed. It was easy to forget reality when you were eons away; the mistletoe, the tree, the living room… It was just she and Jonathan, nothing could stop their kiss…
When they broke apart a few minutes later, the couple felt two pairs of eyes watching what had just taken place. Roxy and Anastasia were on their hands and knees, watching the scene with childish interest although they looked rather sleepy.
“Mommy, Daddy…what are you doing?” was all Roxy could manage to say.