Authors Note: Okay, so I decided last minute to write a Christmas fic and as much as I've been inspired today to write something Die Hard related, I've only given myself a few hours. So instead I felt another Bear story was in order.

This is set just before 4.11 If-Then-Else. I realise it doesn't really look that cold until a few episodes after, but they all run on so by the time they're wrapped up warm in Maple it's really only a day or two after, so I'm going with it. Enjoy. As always, translations at the bottom.

Happy Blinky Tree Day everyone!

Protecting The Pack: Blinky Tree Day at Tunnel Home

The humans are deep in discussion, sat around the glowy box. Whatever it is they are talking about, it must be important, as no one has even looked my way for hours. For a while I had sat beside Bediende, tongue lolling out and panting but apart from a brief scratch on my head from Aanvoerder, he, Bediende and Vriend just keep ignoring me and leaning over the glowy box intently. So now I have given up and have curled up under the glowy box table, my head and paws resting on Aanvoerder's foot to remind him I'm still here.

Things have changed lately. And not just the move from the book-filled home to this tunnel home. I didn't see Aanvoerder and Vriend for a long time and Bediende and I lived in a small home for a while, brighter than our previous one but still book-filled. Now we're in a cold tunnel home with a big metal box that they keep the glowy box in. I don't like it down here so much, but it's okay because Aanvoerder and Vriend came back and Bediende seems happier than he was when it was just him and me.

They are all too busy now though to play with me much. Bediende still takes me for his usual walks and Vriend goes running with me when she can, and still enjoys throwing the plastic disc for me to catch, although we used to do this every day and now I have to wait a long time before she comes for me and sometimes we go running in the dark because it is the only time she has left. As usual though it's Aanvoerder that I worry about most. He still walks around full of anger and sadness, like he has since his mate went away, but now he is so very tired too. Sometimes, when there is a quiet moment in the tunnel home and it is just us, he'll sit with me and hold me close and talk to me in his soothing voice. I know he wishes he had more time with me, I can't understand all the humans say but I think he tells me that something called 'work' is to blame for his absence. This 'work' is to blame for when he comes home smelling of sweat and blood too, and I want to sink my teeth into 'work' to try to protect him from it.

Aanvoerder looks tired again today. And Bediende is upset. Whatever they are talking about, things are not going well. Vriend is grumpy again, because she has been forced to stay in Tunnel Home for a long time now and she doesn't like it either. She likes to be free, like me.

But then they are interrupted by a noise on the stairs. I jump up, tail wagging, I can smell who it is, and she's got a stick with her. We must be going to the park. Aanvoerder is sat with his hind legs a little too far apart and I stand on his foot and brush passed his knee to go and greet the last of our pack.

"A little help here." Krankzinnig yelps as she struggles with her stick, it must be a big stick. Human's don't normally bring sticks, I know, but Krankzinnig is not like other humans. She is always happy and gets so excited about things that sometimes I think she is part-dog. But as I see her, I realise she's not brought a stick, it's a whole tree!

I bark my enthusiasm and wag my tail even faster. Vriend and I can't go to the park so Krankzinnig has brought the park to us! I go up to the tree and give it a sniff. It smells amazing! I jump up at Krankzinnig, tongue lolling out to show my appreciation. She has her hands full with the tree and in my excitement I nearly knock her over but I can't help it because there is a tree, I miss the park, and it has been a long time since my whole pack was in the same place.

"Bear." Aanvoerder warns quietly, and he doesn't need to give me the rest of the command, his tone of voice is enough of a reminder to calm down. I try my best and stop jumping, but there's still a lot of tension in my body at this new development. Aanvoerder goes passed me and pats me on the head as he goes to help Krankzinnig with the tree. The tree is taller than Aanvoerder, and even he struggles with it down the stairs.

"What's this?" Bediende says, as he and Vriend come to watch Aanvoerder and Krankzinnig struggle with the tree.

"Surprise!" Krankzinnig says with a laugh.

Aanvoerder frowns at Krankzinnig who keeps giving him orders. She sometimes forgets who our pack Alpha is, but Aanvoerder only growls at her sometimes and never fights her to put her in her place. Lesser Alpha's would have had to resort to violence to show their strength and keep their title, but not Aanvoerder, he knows that when he speaks, the others will always listen.

Eventually Aanvoerder has the tree where Krankzinnig wants it and bends down to fiddle with something at its base. Suddenly, the tree is filled with little blinky lights. There are other things on the tree too, that catch the light and seem to shimmer on its branches. Aanvoerder steps back and all the humans marvel at the blinky tree. Aanvoerder says something, and his voice is softer than before. Bediende replies, and he too seems less upset than he did when they were all sat round the glowy box.

Krankzinnig is so excited, that if she had a tail it would be thumping the floor. She runs back up the stairs and Vriend goes with her, while Aanvoerder pushes a couple of tables together and Bediende gets the chairs.

When Vriend and Krankzinnig come back they smell delicious and I have to be told by Aanvoerder to zitten to control myself. They put their bags of deliciousness on the table and Bediende brings the humans food bowls. I pick up my bowl and carry it over, making sure that when they dish up they don't forget me. Vriend takes it from me and gives me a hug.

Krankzinnig puts some music on and they dish up the food, including mine, there's turkey and potatoes and sausages in bacon and a lot of other food I don't get given but it's okay because it doesn't smell as good. Humans for some reason like to eat plants, even though meat is so much tastier. They sit down to eat and Vriend puts my bowl in front of me.

I bury my head in the food and keep eating, almost so fast I am sick. When I look up again, I see that my pack are laughing over something Aanvoerder said. They're relaxed and smiling and I haven't seen any of them smile in a very long time.

I don't always like Krankzinnig, I can feel the tension between her and the other humans, and she challenges the authority of Aanvoerder in a way she has no right to. But today she has made them happy, so I pick up the last of my turkey and place it in her lap as an offering of my appreciation. She squeals but pats me on my head as the others laugh.

The day has become the best day in a long time, possibly ever. There's only one thing left to do. So I go over to the blinky tree, but as I cock my leg on it to mark my territory, four voices scream at me, "Bear! No!"

Whoops, too late.

You know the score by now, here's the Dutch names;

Aanvoerder - captain, leader, commander, chief, skipper, boss

Bediende - clerk, servant, attendant, employee, steward, domestic

Vriend - friend

Krankzinnig - insane, crazy, mad, lunatic

Zitten - sit