Hat screamed as she leapt onto the gifts underneath the obnoxiously overgrown tree we miraculously managed to fit into the ship. It was 5 in the morning and we were wide awake.

"Thanks for the wakeup call, Hat." I mumbled, referring to the fact she literally dropkicked me this morning to get me up.

"Tie! This one's for you!" She cried as she thrust my own gift into my hands rather then focusing on her own. "openitopenitopenitopenitopenit!"

"Okay, okay, give me a second." I told her as I began carefully unwrapping the paper. What I uncovered was a dark pink plushie of a scorpion with simple black dots for eyes and a small 'u' shaped smile. It was an amalgamation of my favourite colour, animal and cuteness.

"What do you think?" She asked excitedly.

"I love it, thank you, Hat." I told her as I cuddled it. "Why don't you open your present now?"

"Alright." She nodded as she went back over to the tree and retrieved her own gift, which she feverishly tore open then gasped happily. "Scrapman Exploration! The game I've been wanting!"

"Well, I had a hunch." And by 'hunch' I meant she was dropping not-so-subtle hints the entire month.

"Thank you, Tie!" She smiled happily.

"You're welcome, Hat." I smiled.

"Hey, hey!" We both turned to see Knit jumping down off of the elevator. "I'm awake! Christmas time! Have you opened my presents yet?"

"Now getting to it, Knit." I told her. "And we've got your presents too."

"Hooray!" Knit cheered as she clambered down to us. As expected, Knit's presents were clothing, for me she gave me a very elaborate flat-top hat which had knitted sweets like lollipops and candy-canes decorating it, whilst Hat got a very long rainbow coloured scarf for Hat which she had fun fiddling around with.

"A raincoat!" Knit marvelled as she held up a yellow coat with a matching hood that she immediately threw on. We found out rain made a doll made of yarn very heavy and sluggish, so me and Hat decided on a new raincoat for her. "Thank you two!"

"That's alright, Knit." I told her as I rubbed her head.

"It's a shame we're in the middle of space right now." Hat pondered as she stared out the window. "I would've liked to see snow."

"We've got the next best thing; go into the mailroom." I said. "Which reminds me, did you send all YOUR Christmas cards?"

"Yep!" Hat beamed as she walked over to me. "Say, do you think we can invite them over now?"

"It's a bit early." I pointed out.

"Maybe not on that planet." She pointed out. "C'mon, Tie, pleeeeease! I wanna see them!"

"Me too!" Knit pointed out.

"Alright then." I submitted too easily as I put on the Paradox Pendant whilst Hat put on the Time-Stop Hat to help me, as the two of us began creating multiple portals around the room.

"This is so exciting!" Knit beamed.

"Are they coming through?" Hat turned to me.

"Like I said, they might still be asleep." I said.

"Not a chance!" A voice cried as she jumped through.

"Bow! Merry Christmas!" Hat greeted her.

"Merry Christmas, Clothing Crew!" Bow waved.

"Clothing Crew?" I echoed.

"Fitting, isn't it?"

"Captain's orders, we are now the Clothing Crew." Hat instantly declared, making me roll my eyes.

"Oh, like I'd miss this." A familiar voice said as she walked through.

"CC!" Hat cheered.

"Oh, there you kids are!" She cheered as she walked over to us and hugged us. "I missed you two! Merry Christmas!"

"Hah!" A small object then fell through one. "Hmph! There we go!"

"Hey, Boss." I said as I picked him up and put him on Roombi. "Merry Christmas."

"Mmph. This is almost nostalgic." He mumbled to himself.

"There you are, Darlings! There's magic in the air, is there not?" DJ Grooves crooned as he waddled in.

"Nice of you to send us invites, lad and lassies." Conductor sqwarked, his grandkids in tow and clambering all over him. "Coulda done without Grooves here, though."

"No idea why you invited me." Snatcher groaned. "I hate you all."

"Merry Christmas to you too, Snatcher." I nodded. "And you're technically the closest family Knit has."

"Hiiiiiiiiii~" Knit deliberately creepily waved.

"Great." Snatcher deadpanned.

"Lessee..." Hat mused. "Leviathan couldn't fit, and Walrus and Felin are spending Christmas with their own teams."

"is that everyone, then?" Knit wondered.

"Hold on, I'm bringing in some special guests." I told them.

Three more portals remained open, and eventually some people emerged.

"Thanks for inviting us." Julia smiled. "Merry Christmas Tie, Hat. Hope you don't mind, but I brought family with me."

"Hope we're not intruding." A tall, well-dressed gentleman wearing a plague doctors mask greeted us courteously.

"Is that Tie, Mama?" A creature our size who looked like a doll with green eyes wearing a hood pointed at me.

"This is Gabriele and Kero." She introduced the man and child respectively. "I've been wanting to introduce you."

"Lucky." Mega said as he emerged from the portal. "I would've brought family with me, but I don't want them to be erased from existence. Thanks for the heads-up there, Tie."

"This was kind of out of nowhere for me." Crowbar admitted as he adjusted his hat. "But, uh, thanks for inviting me, I guess. Just so long as you can get me back in quick time."

"I'm happy you all could make it." I nodded.

"Oh, so you're Tie's imaginary friends!" Hat beamed.

"Imaginary friends?" Crowbar mumbled.

"I'm kidding!" Hat laughed. "You're Julia, Mega and Crowbar!"

"Woah, woah, let's fix this right now." Mega said. "My name's Markus. Sorry I, didn't get that out sooner."

"And where'd you get 'Crowbar' from?...Well, I guess with you all it's not too much of a stretch." Crowbar admitted. "But, my name is Arthur, so, yeah, call me that."

"Nice to know at last." I nodded. "So then, now that everybody's here, I made a lot of picky bits yesterday so I'll bring them all out."

"Let me help you there, dear." CC offered as we went into the kitchen to get everything ready.

Shortly everything was set up for a Christmas get together. All manner of finger foods and apple juice were laid out for people to nibble on as Hat loudly played Christmas music whilst everybody mingled.

"Figured ya hatchlings wouldn't have any adult drinks. Lucky I brought my own then, ain't it?" Conductor said as he took a drink.

"Can I try that drink?" Bow asked.

"Absolutely not, darling! When you're older!" Grooves denied.

As Hat was dancing around, she suddenly stopped. "Badge Seller! You're here!"

"Indeed." The strange figure greeted her. "I couldn't resist being here in this season."

"So this isn't causing a problem in the space-time continuum?" Hat questioned.

"Do not worry. None of this is canon." Seller dismissed her, leaving her a bit confused.

In the meantime Arthur and Markus were leaning against the wall drinking apple juice in little cups. In a moment Julia came over to join them.

"It's a little...upsetting, isn't it?" Markus mumbled.

"The way she looks at us like we're total strangers?" Arthur nodded in Hat's direction. "Her smile's still the same but, it's that look of confusion in her eyes that hurts a little."

"It is a little weird, seeing as she's the person who each of us are so close with, but not really." Julia figured. "Back in my dimension, she's called Melody. And Bow over there's called Bonnie."

"Where I came from she's named Hailey." Markus said. "I sorta ended up adopting her, so seeing her not recognise me stung just a little bit."

"She has a proper name where you two are from?" Arthur questioned incredulously. "Huh, might need to get that out of my own Hat Kid. Makes you wonder what Tie's proper name is too."

"Speaking of." Julia nodded, and the other two looked in their direction to see Hat forcibly pulling Tie into a manic dance much to his discomfort.

"Heh, she looks over the moon just being with him." Markus chuckled. "Guess that's what it means to be 'his' Hat."

Arthur stared into his drink, thinking about his own Hat Kid, before looking to the other two. "Julia, right? You seem to know Tie the most. What's up with this Christmas plan?"

"Knowing him the most is still pretty...vague." She admitted. They hadn't even had a proper sit down conversation after all. "From what I've got though, I think Tie was very lonely and sad for a long time, and Hat saved him somehow. Maybe he just wanted a Christmas with everyone he's met."

"Seems like Tie was born into this world, unlike us." Markus went on in a hushed tone. "Don't know what he could have gone through."

Arthur frowned, then downed the rest of his juice and began walking over. "Hey, Tie."

"Oh, Cro-...Arthur, everything alright?" Tie asked as Hat left him to it.

"Just need to talk to you for a second." Arthur said. "Listen, it's not that I'm ungrateful or anything...but WHY did you invite me. We've never talked before. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only thing I saw of you was a quick glimpse. Not enough for a Christmas party invite. Is this supposed to be a, tied by the thread of fate thing?"

Tie blinked, then put his hands in his pocket. "Not really. True, I saw you and, that was it. But I also felt something when I peered into your dimension. A lot pf pain, and sadness, and loneliness from the past. Maybe I can't fully relate, but I know how it feels to have a past like that. And I figured you could use some cross dimensional company at Christmas."

Arthur raised an eyebrow. "That stuff's...private."

"I know. I don't know the details, just the feeling." Tie shrugged.

"Well...thanks." He nodded.

"We shorties have to stick together!" Hat declared as she inserted herself into the conversation and hugged both of them, making them both wheeze in pain. Markus and Julia laughed as they watched on.

"Hey...that big problem still catching up on you?" Julia then quietly asked.

"...Not sure." Markus admitted. "Why?"

"I don't think I'm gonna be able to help you with that." She spoke softly. "Sorry."

"Hey, it's alright. No problem." Markus didn't pry.

"I'm gonna get you!" Kero cheered.

"No you're not!" Knit teased as the two of them chased each other around.

"They're getting along almost too well..." Gabriele thought aloud as he watched over the two. "To think even the most deplorable of Moonjumper's could make someone so kind..." He then sighed and shook his head. "I've got to get rid of this vision of him."

"Oh I wish I could." Gabriele was caught off guard as Snatcher slithered over to him, stuffing his face with finger foods. "Hey, your kids getting along with the doll well, huh? Wanna take her with you when you go? Please take her with you when you go."

Gabriele instead looked at the obnoxious amount of snacks he had swiped. "Does that even do anything for you?"

"Taste is all I need. Gorge the pain away, I say." Snatcher grumbled as he shovelled more sausage rolls in.

"How funny, because I've seen a miserable Snatcher, and you, I daresay, look quite content." Gabriele teased.

"Watch it, mannequin." Snatcher threatened.

"Hiiii, Snatcher!" Knit waved.

"Keep her away from me." Snatcher hissed to Gabriele.

"The great Snatcher, scared of a little girl doll." Gabriele chuckled to himself.

"There's a history there..." Snatcher hissed.

"It's all in good nature, Snatcher. It's Christmas after all." The mask wearer said. "If you want someone to talk to, I'd be willing to lend an ear. Metaphorically of course."

Snatcher casted a sideways glance. "Thanks, I guess...it all started when I was born-"

"Knit! Turn into a cape, next!" Kero pleaded.

"Got it!" She nodded as she wrapped herself around Kero, who proceeded to make whooshing noises as he began running and jumping around.

"Nice party, Tie." Markus said as he approached the child.

"Nah, it's just a little thing." Tie said. "I've never really thrown a party before anyway. It was all Hat's idea."

"Never been to a party before?"

"Haven't really had a very happy past."

"Right, sorry. Wrong time. I guess I'm in a very sensitive mood. Been a lot happening on my end recently."

"That sounds familiar." Tie looked out among everyone. "I've accepted the fact that I'm going back there. To my home planet. And facing everything. The truth is though, I'm still a little scared about it."

Markus looked down at Tie. From his recent experience it was more evident to him, yet it was still easy to forget sometimes. Hat and Tie were children. They were easily influenced by emotions, and could get hurt all too easily, despite them being superhuman aliens.

"Hey, kid." He adopted an old habit as he looked up at him. "You're gonna do just fine. Because it's fine to be scared. And you've done a lot of amazing things. You've helped a lot of people. So if it DOES end up going south, you've got a whole lot of new friends who'd drop anything and come help you. Remember that."

Tie smiled. "I know. And I'll come help all of you if you ever need it."

"Sounds good to me." Markus agreed.

There was a pause.

"Please don't ever call me a kid again." Tie mumbled.

Markus burst out laughing at that. "Fair enough."

At the same time, Julia walked up to Arthur. "Hey, Arthur...you're from our world too, right? Earth?"

"How can you tell?" Arthur responded.

"Had a feeling." She shrugged. "You're pretty young though. In comparison to me and Markus at least."

"My turn. You two seem to have been around longer then me. Much longer."

"Yep. Got myself a house and a little family. It was...a lot of work." Her thoughts turned sombre. "Don't know about Markus, but he seems to be making it work?"

"...You ever miss it? Home?" Arthur asked.

Julia paused. "I went back for a while. Then I actively chose to come back. At the moment, I'm wondering if I made the right decision, and still miss things, a little." She turned to him. "What about you?"

"Not right now. Wondering if I will." He admitted. "I mean, c'mon, I'm looking at an anthropomorphic penguin with an afro talking to eyes and a moustache in a jar." Arthur began thinking...was that wrong of him? Should he be sad? Was he being selfish?

"You can be happy if you want to." Julia said, as if reading his mind. "If you ever get worried about it, send Markus a letter. Or even Tie. He knows about leaving home behind too. We're your friends now."

"We are?" Arthur chuckled. "I don't remember that happening."

"You never do." Julia smiled herself. "Right, I'm gonna go check on my plus two. Take care, Arthur."

"Yeah." Arthur nodded, as he was left to his own thoughts, that went wandering...

"Well..." Moustache said. "Never thought I'd be spending Christmas in a cave. Or that it would be so cosy." She looked around at their handiwork of Christmas decorations around the cave. "How's that turkey coming along, Voice?"

"Cooking good." Voice nodded as they used their one of a kind Time Tuning Fork to spit-roast a whole turkey. "And the salmons cooking fine, and the seafood soup is nice and hot."

"Kinda fishy for a Christmas dinner, but gotta go with what you got." Moustache admitted as she sat down next to him. "Voice...I'm glad you're with me on Christmas."

"I could think of no better place to be." Voice said.

Moustache paused. "Do you think all the other me's are all alone today?"

"Not all. But a lot." Voice said as they finished turning the turkey and held it aloft to cool down. "But Moustache, you deserve to be happy today. Everybody does. And I'm more then happy to do so for you. Because we're partners."

"Wow, that was really cheesy, Voice." Moustache laughed. "...Thank you, so much."

Voice nodded, then he offered a plate to the opposite end of the fire. "Some salmon, Zephyr?"

"Zephyr thanks you, abomination." The doll man nodded as they took it and shoved it directly into their mouthless face.

"Why did we invite them again?" Moustache asked.

"A bit more company." Voice said. "Don't worry, they'll be good."

"And what about them?" Moustache nodded towards a ghostly apparition of a figure.

"Couldn't resist the pull of this event." The Traveller spoke wistfully, before they ate a battered prawn. "Also, the food smelled good."

"Well, so long as they aren't bad guys." Moustache mumbled, causing both of them to look away and cough awkwardly.

"I'm just happy I could spend this time, Christmas time, with you, Moustache." Voice said as they began cutting up the turkey.

"Yeah. Me too." She nodded. "Merry Christmas, Voice."

Even beneath the hood, Moustache knew they were doing their own version of smiling. "Right then. Who wants stuffing?"

"Zephyr would!" He screeched.

"Please." The Traveller mumbled.

Moustache couldn't help but smile at the absurdity of it all. It was certainly a memorable Christmas.

The party was going on for quite a bit now. Things were winding down into conversations between certain groups as CC was cooking away a Christmas dinner in the kitchen. Hat was playing Scrapman Exploration with Bow and Tie thanks to some new multiplayer controllers as Christmas gifts.

Arthur was standing at one of the tables absentmindedly eating mini sausages as he looked out across the groups chatting away.

"Standoffish type, are we?" Markus asked as he walked over.

"Just still feel a bit out of place, that's all." Arthur admitted. "Also, got me thinking a bit." He nodded towards Tie, then at Julia who was leaning against the wall with a forlorn look.

"What about them?" Markus wondered aloud.

"Those two...for better or worse, they seem like they know where they're going." Arthur sighed. "And I just realised, that I have NO idea where I'm heading, what's gonna happen to me, what choices I'm gonna make. When I look at them I feel lost."

Markus whistled. "That's a lot to think about. But I definitely don't think they've got their plans set in stone or anything."

"It's just a bit worrying, okay?" Arthur huffed. "Makes me wonder where I'm gonna end up at my own end."

Markus blinked then sighed. "Y'know, I've recently made a bunch of big decisions, like really big decisions, and I have absolutely no idea what my future is gonna be like, and I'm terrified of that. You're never gonna stop doing that. You just got to believe in it and go forward with it."

"Good to hear." Arthur laughed.

"That was quick."

"Hey, I just needed a pick-me-up." Arthur smirked at him. "Besides, it's Christmas. I can worry about all of that Boxing Day...you wanna play some Scrapman Exploration?"

"Sure, I like a multiplayer indie." Markus agreed.

When everybody else was distracted, Julia felt it best to slip away into Hat's bedroom and flop down onto the mountain of pillows. Maybe she missed it a little.

"What are you doing in here?" She looked up to see Gabriele standing there.

"Sorry." She sighed. "It all just feels a bit...bittersweet."

Gabriele came over and sat down next to her. "Because you're going to die?"

"Mm." She barely spoke.

"Have you told any of them?"

"I can't. Can't bring myself to." She admitted. "Gabriele, Tie told me I somehow saved him from his depression. How can I tell him I'm going to die?"

"I just think that, if you don't tell any others, it's going to be more painful for everybody. Especially if it's going to be so sudden."

Julia looked down shamefully. "I'm just worried how people will take it."

"That speaks for itself how many people you've changed for the better. You're worried about hurting them because of how much you've helped each other."

She shook her head. "I don't think I'm worth it."


The two of them flinched and looked over as Tie stood in the doorway to the room.

"Tie!" Julia gasped. "How long have you been there?"

"Just came in." He shrugged. "Sorry, did, you two want some time alone?"

Julia looked to Gabriele for help, and even though he didn't have a face, she knew he was giving her a 'your move' look. "The...party was just getting a bit loud, that's all."

"I understand that. Never been to a party after all." Tie said as he walked over to them. "I saw you walk off, couldn't help it, and just came to check on you." He jumped onto the mountain of pillows and took a seat next to them. "Because I understand bad feelings at this point. I think I can tell when someone is upset, or uncomfortable...or knowing they're...going to die..."

Tears began welling up in his eyes. "B-But that's just a...stupid bad feeling..." He looked at her pleadingly. "Right?"

"Oh, Tie." Julia sighed as she gave the child a hug. Gabriele thought quickly and moved to the door to make sure nobody interrupted and soured the whole mood.

"I don't want you to die...!" Tie sobbed. "Please don't die...!"

"I'm sorry. I don't know when, but I'm going to die soon." Julia admitted.

"I-I don't know...what I'll do when you d-die..." Tie whimpered. "I want to tell you s-so much..."

"You'll be fine." Julia assured him. "You're not alone anymore. Everyone will be there for you."

"But you won't be. And you were the first one there for me, even if you were a thought." He sniffled. "And everyone else who loves you..."

"...Yeah. It really sucks." She admitted as she began to tear up too. "Really, really sucks..."

Tie hugged her back. "I'll never forget you, Julia."

"You too, Tie." She said.

After a while, we emerged from the room, making Gabriele glance at them, before wrapping an arm around Julia.

"Hey, Tie." Hat came over to me, her manic energy gone and replaced with a soft kindness. "We're all gonna watch a Christmas film. CC made hot chocolate!" She led me over to the tv and sat me down in front of it, before we all snuggled up in a blanket and she handed me a cup.

"...Thank you, Hat." I smiled.

"I'm glad I could spend Christmas with everyone...and you, Tie." Hat said as she looked at me. "Even if things get tough. Even if even today we have reasons to cry, that's okay. Because we're surrounded by people we care about. And I'll always care about and be here for you Tie. You're my irreplaceable Vice-Captain."

"Hat..." I looked at her, then smiled weakly. "Thank you...for everything..."

"Excuse me!" Suddenly Knit dived into the blanket with us. "I'll always be here too!"

"Room for a few more?" Suddenly Bow, Julia, Markus and Arthur crowded around.

"Excuse us!" Everybody else then sat down and surrounded us.

"it got uncomfortably cosy all of a sudden." Arthur said.

"The best kind, obviously." Bow nodded.

"So, what are we watching? Grinch? Which one?" Markus questioned.

"Animated one, obviously." Knit said.

"Well, this takes me back." Julia admitted.

I looked around, then snuggled in and took a sip of my hot chocolate. I didn't know what was going to happen after this, good or bad. But right now, I was just happy to be surrounded by so many warm faces and people who had grown to become my friends. For one day, today, that was more then enough.

"Merry Christmas everyone." I said.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Julia, Gabriele, Kero and Zephyr belong to Konan720, Markus and The Traveller belong to Mr. Mega1423, Arthur belongs to Fighter33000