A/N: This is a story that's been floating around in my head for about a year. I hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Class of the Titans or the song "I'll Be Home for Christmas".
Home for Christmas
Christmas was coming and in the city of New Olympia, preparations were well underway. Holiday finery decked the stores, lights covered homes and tinsel, and decorations festooned trees. Everywhere you looked hordes of shoppers went from store to store searching for the perfect gift. There was no denying Christmas had come to every corner of New Olympia.
Well almost…there was one place that hadn't yet been touched by the magic of the holiday season.
The old brownstone sat in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood. Unlike all the other buildings in the area, however, no one had decorated it in anticipation of the upcoming holiday. There were no decorations inside either, only gloom and disappointment.
It was hard to believe that just a few days earlier this sad looking place was full of excitement. The seven teenagers who lived in the brownstone had planned to have a simple Christmas celebration before returning home to spend the holidays with their respective families. They'd bought gifts for each other, set up a small tree in a corner of the living room, and decorated the house. Everything was perfect…until suddenly it wasn't.
It all began when the seven young heroes went to talk to the gods about their plans to go home for Christmas.
"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid that's not possible," Hera had said.
"Why not?" Jay had asked.
"Cronus could attack at any time," Hera had explained, "and the seven of you are most vulnerable when you are alone. We cannot risk something happening. I am sorry, but you must remain here for Christmas."
The air had exploded with the outraged shouts of seven severely disappointed teens.
"That's not fair!" Atlanta had exclaimed.
"You can't do that!" Archie had cried.
One by one, each teen had expressed his or her frustration at the gods denying them the chance to return home for the holidays. To his credit, Jay had attempted to get Hera to change her mind, but her decision was final. The seven young heroes would not be going home for Christmas.
When they returned to the brownstone, the heroes decided that if they couldn't go home for Christmas then they didn't want to celebrate at all. Down came the tree and all the other decorations. They tucked away the gifts they had so carefully purchased. Some they might return after the holidays and some they might give to the intended recipients. Finally, they made phone calls home to inform their families that they would not be joining them for Christmas.
Thus, the threat of Cronus spoiled what once had promised to be a joyful occasion.
"Come on, cheer up, you can't mope forever," Athena pleaded a few days later.
The heroes looked up at her from various positions around the living room.
"Yes we can," Atlanta grumbled.
"It's Christmas!" Athena exclaimed.
"So what?" Archie demanded.
"So you should be more excited," Athena replied.
"What is there to be excited about?" Herry asked.
"Well…uh," Athena stammered trying to come up with something.
"See even you can think of something," Odie declared.
"All right, fine! Go ahead and sulk then," Athena snapped, "but I'm not going to let you spoil my Christmas!"
She stormed out, switching on the radio as she went. The strains of "White Christmas" immediately filled the air. Scowling Archie got up and switched the offending music off. In the kitchen, Athena sighed. She knew how upset the young ones were about missing Christmas with their families. She'd heard them talking for weeks about their holiday plans.
Jay had been looking forward to sitting by the fire with his family, drinking hot chocolate and singing songs. Atlanta had talked about hunting through the forest for the perfect Christmas tree. Herry had gone on and on about his family's huge Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, especially his Granny's famous apple pie. When pressed by the others, Archie had mumbled something about building snow forts with his siblings and staging a snow battle royal with his family in the backyard before coming inside for hot drinks by the fire. Odie's plans included going Christmas caroling with his family and volunteering at a local soup kitchen, while Theresa's greatest enjoyment came from knowing that her father would actually be taking the day off work to spend Christmas with her. Finally, Neil had planned on going to the spa with his parents and indulging himself for an entire week.
Sadly, the heroes had had to discard those plans thanks to Hera's decision to have the heroes remain in the city for Christmas and they were feeling the loss most keenly. Athena wished there was something she could do to help them feel better, so she stood by the sink and listened to the sounds of the conversation in the living room. Maybe the heroes would give her an idea.
"Aren't there any sad Christmas songs?" Archie complained.
"I doubt it," Atlanta responded. "All those song writers care about is making people feel happy, so they'll enjoy celebrating."
"I know a sad one," Theresa spoke up suddenly.
"Why don't you sing it for us?" Jay asked.
"Yeah, come on," Atlanta chimed in. "I'd like to hear a song that isn't all cheerful melodies and sappy lyrics."
"Well, all right," Theresa agreed, somewhat reluctantly. Taking a deep breath, she began to sing.
"I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know, it's a long road back
I promise you
I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love-light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams."
"That's the only way any of us will be home for Christmas this year," Archie remarked bitterly, "in our dreams."
Unable to refute the logic of Archie's words, the others just sighed and one by one drifted away to pursue other activities and try to keep their minds off missing Christmas at home.
In the kitchen, however, Athena was positively dancing with excitement. This was it! The heroes had unknowingly given her an idea that would allow her to give them the Christmas they all wanted so much.
That night after the heroes had gone to bed, Athena slipped over the school's secret wing to talk to the other gods.
"They've been so depressed since they found out they wouldn't be going home," she explained after outlining her idea to the other gods and goddesses. "I really think this will cheer them up."
"I agree with Athena," Hera stated. "This is just the thing to raise the young ones' spirits."
"I'll make the arrangements immediately," Zeus declared.
"Perfect," Athena said, "but remember don't say anything to the young ones we want this to be a surprise."
Zeus hurried off to make the necessary preparations while a smiling Athena headed back to the brownstone.
Christmas Eve arrived with no discernible changes to either the brownstone or the heroes' moods. They moped around the house and refused to decorate despite Athena's pleas. The one bright spot for Athena was the knowledge that Zeus had taken steps to put her plan into action. In fact, Zeus had scheduled everything to happen that night.
When Jay, Atlanta, Herry, Archie, Odie, Theresa, and Neil finally went to bed, Athena knew that Zeus had set her plan into motion. There was nothing left to do, but wait.
Jay was confused. He was certain he had gone to sleep in his bedroom at the brownstone, but somehow he'd woken up in his bed at home. He went downstairs and found his family ready to celebrate Christmas.
"Mom, Dad, it's so good to see you!" Jay exclaimed embracing his parents.
"It's good to see you, Jay," his mother said. "We've missed you so much since you went away."
"Yes, son, it is good to have you home," his father agreed. "Now come on and open your presents."
Jay spent the rest of the day enjoying a typical Christmas with his family. They opened gifts, had Christmas dinner, played board games, sang songs, and sat by the fire drinking hot chocolate.
"This was the best Christmas ever," he declared.
Something strange is going on, Atlanta thought when she woke up in her bed at home instead of her bed at the brownstone.
Not that it mattered, she had wanted to spend Christmas at home, and she had gotten her wish.
"Hurry up honey," her mother called. "It's time to find our perfect Christmas tree."
Atlanta threw on some clothes and dashed downstairs. Finding the tree was her favorite part of Christmas. They usually went hunting for it on Christmas Eve and Atlanta wondered why they'd left it until Christmas Day this year.
"I'm ready," she announced, "but why didn't you go look for the tree yesterday?"
"We wanted to wait for you," her mother answered. "That is your favorite part of Christmas."
Atlanta spent the rest of the day enjoying her family's usual Christmas activities. After they found the tree, a perfect six foot pine, they decorated it, opened their gifts, had dinner, and spent the rest of the day just enjoying each other's company.
"This was the greatest Christmas ever," she sighed.
Herry thought perhaps he'd died and gone to Elysian Fields. He had awakened that morning in his bed at home. He'd thought it was weird, for about two seconds, then the smells of cooking wafted into his bedroom from downstairs and obliterated all other considerations from his mind.
"Hi Granny," he called when he entered the kitchen moments later. "What's cooking?"
"Pancakes," she answered, pointing to a plate piled high with them.
Herry helped himself to a big stack. After breakfast, he went outside to do his chores knowing how much Granny hated having him underfoot when she was cooking and that his parents wouldn't let him open his presents until he had taken care of his responsibilities. Once he completed his chores, he came back inside and joined his family in the living room to open his presents. After that, they played games until Granny and Herry's mother told them that dinner was ready.
Herry piled his plate high with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables cranberry sauce, and rolls. He made sure to save room for dessert, though, his Granny's famous fresh-baked apple pie with ice cream.
"This was the perfect Christmas," Herry mumbled with his mouth full.
Archie didn't know what to think when he woke up at home instead of at the brownstone.
Maybe the gods changed their minds, he thought as he wandered downstairs in search of breakfast.
"Archie help me get breakfast for your brother and sisters please," his mom called.
"Sure mom," Archie called back.
A few minutes later, Archie sat at the kitchen table with his siblings and chowed down on his mom's homemade waffles.
"Great waffles, thanks mom," he said.
"You're welcome, sweetheart," she replied.
After they opened their presents, Archie's mom sent him outside to play with his siblings while she finished preparing Christmas dinner.
"Come on Archie, help us build a snowman," his little sisters Katie and Marcie begged.
"No way Archie's helping me build a snow fort," his younger brother Charlie insisted.
"Hey, hey, I can do both," Archie offered quickly before an argument could start.
First, he helped Katie and Marcie build a snowman. Then, he helped Charlie construct a snow fort. When they finished the fort, they built another one for the girls and staged a huge snowball fight that only ended when their mom called them in for dinner.
"This was a great Christmas," Archie decided.
Odie felt completely baffled when he woke up in his bed at home instead of the brownstone. He finally decided it had to be a dream that was the only logical explanation. Dream or not, though, he was going to enjoy himself.
First, he ate breakfast and opened presents with his family. Then, it was time to head to the soup kitchen where they volunteered every year.
"It's so good to see you," Agnes, the woman who ran the kitchen declared.
"We're happy to help," Odie told her.
They spent the afternoon helping serve Christmas dinner to the less fortunate before returning home for their own meal. Then, it was time for Christmas caroling. They went around to all their neighbors' homes, spreading holiday cheer.
"This was a wonderful Christmas," Odie announced, smiling with satisfaction.
When Theresa woke up at home instead of the brownstone, she wasn't sure what had happened, but decided not to question it. She'd wanted to spend Christmas with her dad and she'd gotten her wish. Sometimes it was better to let things be no matter how strange they were.
Christmas was the one day she knew she'd have her dad all to herself and she took advantage of it every year. First, they opened their presents and then they went for a sleigh ride.
"This is great!" Theresa exclaimed as they travelled down the snow-covered trails behind their house.
"I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, sweetie," her dad said smiling.
After the sleigh ride, they ate Christmas dinner. Then, they drank hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows in the fireplace.
"This was a perfect Christmas," Theresa smiled.
Neil didn't care that he'd woken up somewhere other than the brownstone. The important thing was that he was at the spa just as he'd wanted.
He spent Christmas the way he always did, indulging himself with mad baths, facials, and massages. In his mind, there was no better way to spend the holidays.
"This Christmas is a dream come true," he sighed.
The next morning the heroes were happier than they'd been in days. Somehow, they'd all gotten the Christmas they wished for and it didn't matter if it was all a dream. They came downstairs to discover that someone had set up the tree again and piled the gifts underneath.
After tearing open their gifts, they decided to go spread some Christmas cheer at the local hospital.
"Why should we be the only ones enjoying ourselves?" Odie pointed out.
As they prepared to leave, Jay poked his head in the kitchen.
"Hey Athena," he called.
"Yes Jay?" she asked.
"I just wanted to say…" he paused.
"Hurry up Jay," Theresa called from the other room.
"Thanks Athena…for everything," Jay finished hurriedly before heading off to catch up with his friends.
"Thank you Morpheus," Athena whispered. "For giving them all the Christmas they dreamed of."
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love-light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.
A/N: As Garfield, the Cat, once observed, "Christmas: It's not the giving, it's not the getting, it's the loving". Merry Christmas.