Witching Hour

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Crimson Christmas

Christmas morning. An exciting day for many, young and old. A sweet, cherished time, shared all across the world –for one reason or another. A gathering for peace, love, warmth, and compassion. Even the little things during the morning seemed to have more to them, from as basic as the sun warming one’s house or home. It was more than a glow, a cycle that day, personal, intimate. The light was different than every other day, that slowly filled even the smallest of hovels and made them seem like mansions. Even the first breeze of Christmas morning was gentler, carrying a scent most percolating, lifting all and their spirits as the day rolled into mirth, camaraderie, family, and cheer.

However, it was not morning but night in the Halls when its denizens would stir. And the stress of Christmas Eve still clung even as it slipped into Midnight of. Samantha gave a start as Carol of the Bells filled her room. It didn’t seem to come from the room, itself, but from something inside it, and, considering how it buzzed, it had to be her phone... Why was Carol of the Bells coming from her phone? She yawned, tried to throw the blanket from her waist... only to realize it wasn’t a blanket that was wrapped around her.

“What the hell,” Samantha exclaimed, tugging harder on Norman’s arm. Her heart skipped a beat, seeing his face over her shoulder. “Norman!”

He snorted, and yawned as well, smiling tiredly.

“Oh. Morning, Sam,” he mumbled. “How are y-”

“Do you have any idea what you are doing?”

“... No?”

“You’re spooning me!”

“Oh. Sorry. I’m a hugger.” He giggled and crawled out of the bed, allowing Samantha to stand at last. She shuddered, straightening her top. If it was anyone else ESPECIALLY MINOS she would have been more cross... but it was Norman. Even after the scene the day before, she couldn’t find it in her heart to feel anything but mercy to him. Though she did feel hot under the collar. For other reasons... BUT she had more pressing matters. She needed to find her phone and end that song –if more for Ayn’s sake than her own. She had grumbled awake, and the look in her eye flashed so fast from grogginess to fury it was a wonder fire didn’t froth from them. Samantha checked the nightstand... and found her phone. Silent, at least when she first picked it up. Her alarm finally rung, making her squeak as its klaxon wailed. Turned off instantly.

However, the Carol continued, undaunted, clashing with O Tannenbaum finally shrieking free from the walls, themselves. It was stronger than the other songs still permeating from them. Closer, too, and only grew as they drew her to the desk. To her computer.

And the golden burdens beside it.

It was the day, but she sort of hoped she could have ‘accidentally’ slept through most of it. Sadly, it would seem things would go as planned. All thanks to her, no less; she set that alarm on her laptop, after all. How ‘kind’ of her... how ‘considerate’. For now, though, she could at least end those accursed bells. She started to open the laptop, but the lights finally caught up and flickered on, showing Samantha that there was an additional item in the room that day. A small package on top of her laptop. It was a thin package, just a touch smaller than her laptop, wrapped in shimmering, emerald paper. There was a tiny flap on top, showing it was meant for Ayn.

From Lilith.

Samantha tossed over the package, aimed for Ayn’s face, but the succubus caught it, giving Samantha a dirty look before giving the parcel an even more sour one.

“Should I just smash it,” she asked. Her right hand was already raised over it, trembling with the rest of her arm. Matching the beats of the next song, Twelve Days of Christmas. “I think I should simply smash it.”

“Oh, come on. At least open it,” Norman said, sitting beside her. “She went through the trouble of wrapping it, after all.”

She rolled her eyes... but opened it at Norman’s behest. And good thing she did; there was a tablet inside. It was fully charged, the speakers at a quarter of their volume, quickly turned off. Thank gods... Ayn swiped it open, her left brow rising as she checked folder upon folder on it.

“Well? Anything good?” Samantha said.

“More than good,” Ayn said, smirking. “It has every book I ever wanted to read. Every streaming service. Every music app.”

“Any games?” Norman said.

She scoffed. “Why would I want those? Huh... Shame it’s from Lilith, but I suppose I can’t- oh. Wait. Hold on. Norman, I wish for a roll of electrical tape.”

His smile faded, but he held out his hand. Light glinted in his eyes once more, blue flames trickling from them down to his hand, where it congregated and burned before vanishing into the shadow of a roll that was the tape. She took it, and pulled off two strips, covering up the cameras on the front and back before pulling a last line. She pulled it in half, and layered it over the microphone, placing the rest of the tape on the stand.

“There we go. Now that cunt can’t listen or see what’s happening,” she said, then kissed Norman’s forehead. “Thank you, Norman honey.”

“Don’t mention it... Say, isn’t today Junmei’s and Marcy’s-”

“Yes,” both women grumbled at once.

Norman stood, all giggles as he bounded to the door. “Then I should go freshen up. I love a good wedding.”

“An oxymoron if I ever heard one,” Ayn muttered, lost to her device. Sadly, Samantha didn’t have that luxury; she was both the best man and pastor. Junmei mentioned it earlier in the week week, that she was the closest thing to their holy head down in the Halls. Which, at the time, she couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

Me? A holy figure? She thought, still tittering about it as she lumbered into the bathroom, slamming the door behind. On the back of it hung her lovely LBD – her Little Black Dress. Another of Bella’s creations. It barely came to her knees, and had a wavy cut along it, as if a rolling wave in a black sea. The straps were angular, hooking in to rest on the crooks of her neck, while a second set wrapped around her shoulders, looping low, almost low enough to graze her elbows. The middle was cut deep yet conservative, showing off her neckline but stopping just before the cleavage (What cleavage) only to open underneath, one piece again by the time it reached her waist. It was an intricate piece, the most intricate the drider made for her, and truly a thing of beauty, but Samantha couldn’t help but loathe it.

Specifically, its lack of any leg cover.

She didn’t own a pair of pantyhose, didn’t have garters or even a belt, which meant she would have to shave. She stripped, putting the old clothes in the “hamper”, and stepped into the shower, grimacing at the flow she still had to endure. She would have to shave there, too; make it a clean sweep. Wind, metal overtook her right hand again –purposeful, so the dragon didn’t rouse. She hummed as the water splashed into the tub in thick waves, let loose with very pass over her arm as she leaned over its side. She ran two fingers up her leg, their edges glinting in the soft light, leaving a clear path through the forest that had grown, quickly clearing but not too quick. The odd hair here, the rebel there; they all had to go. No way she was buying time... nope. None.

She finished the right quick enough, much to her disdain, and moved to the left, a far harder angle. Leaning against the tub was not possible, at least not without leaving a nice pool of blood. She climbed in and crafted an orb of soft, blue light, pulsing as she continued to trim. The dragon snuffled, light flickering in its eyes, but still not enough to truly awaken it. She drew ever closer to her middle, shaking with every stroke that came close, feeling those edges.

Do I really need to? She thought, but got her answer as her pinky rubbed against it, almost tangled in how thick, and nappy, it was. She cleared the outer thigh, and scooted closer to the faucet, closer to the light outside, aiding with the orb.

“You’ve done this before, Sam,” she mumbled... striking herself down as she did. Yeah, when not completely stressed or in a rush or, you know, bleeding! “Think of it this way, even if we accidentally cut, the pad will simply do double duty.”

Not really comforting, it turned out. Especially where the cut might be... but... she took a deep gulp, and worked her way around those lips. She only used one finger now, her ring, using the index and middle to guide the way through the jungle, to avoid the cavern and its jewel at all costs. Time seemed to slow to a halt. Her breathing was both threaded yet deep, shaking, shuddering as she cleared the left side first, the difference between the thick, black marsh and the smooth, dark chocolate skin staggering.

She exhaled at last, and worked on the right... hating that she was getting wet. The tension, the possible danger... and yet she felt a climax coming. She was getting incredibly sensitive, the feeling of the blade just tickling by her folds making her tremble, made even worse as those fingers did guide it away, TEASING it. She reached her clit once more, throbbing, and squirted as she accidentally did cut herself, moaning and hissing. Her body rocked with it, hips aching as they thrust, feeling another cut.

Samantha forced her hand away lest she looked like she got a Freddy job, but her other hand kept playing, fooling with those folds, with her clit, finally given attention again. It was supposed to be this weekend, after all. The weekend when she was supposed to have Mahna’s loving again, his hard member thrust into her tight lips, both sets, until he indulged her, spoiled her with his cum.

Such bitter revelations made her actions bittersweet, but the hot water that flowed against it seemed so cold compared to the heat coming from. She dared not look at the water, wanted nothing to do with the mess she was making, but she needed to finish shaving, one way or another. It was only two more strokes, two more swipes that lead to another cut and a loud wail.

The door thundered, making her jump a little.

“Do you mind?” Ayn shouted through. “Nigga, I am not here to listen to you fuck yourself.”

“You could always g-” She began to retort, stopping herself before she said something she would truly regret... or enjoy. But it was Christmas; there was nothing about today that was meant to be joyful.

Samantha stood at last, and turned the knob for the water to flow from above. Green melted from the metal, fading from her hand. Not a single nick was left down there; truly, her magic had come a long way. Before, she couldn’t even mend a paper cut without it being infected. Now? She could heal whole bone structures. She could cleanse and reanimate dead or fried skin and cells. She both beamed yet glowered at that ring, the dragon hissing softly as she ran it through her hair and over her body, cleaning off the last few stragglers.

I feel like a fucking parent, she thought, finishing up. She climbed out of the tub and trudged to the sink, where her panties -and pad- waited. She slipped them on... and then... at long last, donned her LBD. Form-fitted to perfection. She marveled at herself a moment in the mirror, seeing- no, indulging in the spectacle before her, at this wretched turned... well, queen. Damn right! I’m now a certified Nubian Queen, bitches. Eat yo hearts out!

Alas, her ensemble wasn’t finished. The black heels were outside, in the bedroom, so she was only somewhat perfect... But soon... soon, she would be... She cocked her head at Ayn as she walked out. The succubus was reclined in her bed, watching something.

“Shouldn’t you be getting ready?” She said.

“Yeah, nah,” she said, flapping her hand like a mouth towards Samantha. “Fuck them.”

Wish I could say the same. Samantha huffed as she put on her heels, heading out and down to the classroom. She had a good bit of preparation before the big moment; those arts and crafts were on purpose, after all. She readjusted the furniture, the desks, her table and podium, putting her podium all the way at the back of the room while the desks were aligned on either side, all directed towards the center. Her table was folded flat against the front, used as an anchor for the multitude of arts strung from there across the room. They looped, they wound, creating such abstract, extravagant patterns to the podium, but the middle was always kept clear, a perfect arc over top, all centering on the projector. She even had that on, projecting a picture of a cake with a naga and harpy figurine on top... cheap-looking figures, but figures none the less. Her laptop, also, played Pachelbel’s Canon, on repeat until the agreed time: midnight.

As she finished putting up the last bit of art, definitely Monica’s considering the detail to shading and color, Samantha heaved a heavy sigh, looking back on her accomplishment, on all their accomplishments. Even Ayn’s weren’t that bad; though a toddler would still scoff at them, they complemented the others in their own, special way. Even hers, as plain as they were compared to the likes of Monica, added a nice piece to the whole. All one, large, family... Where did that bit of rain come from on her cheek?

She wiped it away, giggling at herself, and pulled out her phone, checking the time. 11:45. In five minutes, Junmei would walk through that do-

Oh shit!

Her heart raced as she beat up the steps, grabbing the rings off her desk, and returned. She checked the time again, finding only two minutes passed, and sighed. Her eyes rolled at her overreaction, but at least she had a fun time arguing with herself about it, waiting out the last three.

Or longer, as she checked her phone again. 11:55.

Samantha blinked, looking to the door. They weren’t going to be fashionably late to their own wedding, were they... Another thought crossed: maybe this was their way of getting back at her. Maybe they lied about the whole marriage, had her plan and wait... for nothing! Maybe they were having a right giggle out in the hall at that moment- and not only them! Norman was in on it- Minos, too! Ayn, as well; wouldn’t be the first time she hid her hand well.

How could she be so stupid! Of course that’s what this is. Her? A holy figure? How could she have been so naive... She checked her phone again.

If they aren’t here in one minute, I’m going out there and shoving these rings right up Junmei’s uret-

The door opened.

Norman came skipping in, taking the seat closest to the podium, wearing a deep, crimson suit. He had on a white shirt underneath, with a soft, silver tie accentuating his rather meager chest.

“They’re on their way,” he said, his cheeks a bit red. “They were in the middle of something.”


“Marcy wanted to give him something special before the marriage.”

“You mean they fucked?”

“Only in the rear. She wanted to be pure for him.”

Where have I heard that before... Bitch stole my shtick! She rolled her eyes, but was at least smiling as Junmei entered. Almost painfully so. Samantha could barely look at him, or his suit. There was no way that shade of turquoise was real; if it was, demons or aliens had to be involved in making it- no! It was a present from Hell, Itself, to torment all in its gaudy brightness. Thankfully, it was stopped at the waist by black “belt”, with nothing below. His hood was flared, cleaned, given a soft shine, matching the glow in his eyes as he made his way to the “altar”.

He hissed, tongue flitting as he looked over Samantha.

“Might I say, Sam, you look ravishing tonight.” The door clicked again, making him gasp. “Quick! The wedding march.”

Samantha rummaged under the podium, clicking something, changing between multiple songs until the right one played- just in time for Marcy to open the door. She, too, was in a painful shade of blue. It matched, at least, so it only caused one kind of eye cancer as she took her time walking down the aisle. Her arms were covered in bright, white gloves, already tearing, sheering away by her feathers, but they would hold for at least the ceremony. Her talons were polished, capped in soft silver, clacking away on the steel until she was beside Junmei. Her cheeks were warm, eyes a touch tired but so very happy... fading as she looked around.

“Is this all there is?” She said. “I expected more people.”

“Jack wanted nothing to do with this,” Junmei stated. “He’s not a fan of marriage. Peter declined, respectfully. Lisa stated if she could get up... Minos should be along soon, though. He said he wanted to be here.”

I bet, Samantha thought, but Marcy looked at her.

“What about Ayn,” she asked.

“She... said no,” Samantha said.

“I’m here,” Norman said, giggling. “I’m so happy for you two.”

Marcy cooed, and patted his head. “Thank you, Norman. You’re so sweet.”

“You know,” Samantha uttered,” I could probably go get Ginge-”

“Fuck no! She’s the one we didn’t invite.”

“Really? Even Buffy?”

Junmei rubbed the back of his head, Marcy’s ire upon him once more.

“I... did it as an olive branch, to let bygones be bygones,” he said. “We couldn’t be together, but we could at least be civil. We are all stuck down here, after all.” He sighed, and rolled his wrist. “In any case, we are already behind schedule. Norman will simply have to do.”

“Hey,” Norman whined, and Junmei garnered a glare from both Marcy and Samantha.

“I meant it as a compliment, I swear... Anyways, Sam?”

“Oh, uh, right.” She cleared her throat, and started the ceremony. They made it look so easy in the movies; couples made it seem fluid at the altar, but now, now that she was here, reading the proper words, they didn’t have the right impact. Not at all. Her skin cringed with how she wrote it, made worse by Junmei’s and Marcy’s visible irritation, but she dared not stop. She could see the sword in her emperor’s eyes, waiting to drop if she did and make her a proper Damocles.

Thankfully, though she reached the end. Without losing her head. They both said their I Do’s, and she could finally breath.

“Now,” she said, “Norman... do you have a reason these two should not be wed?”

“None,” he said.

“Then, by the power vested in me,” I guess, “I now pronounce you husband an-”

The door flew open, and there was a flash of blue and red down the aisle, slowing behind the two to show a wild Buffy in its center. Her eyes were bloodshot, her entirety reeking of alcohol, but the fury burned bright through it all. Clear as day.

“I reject!” She screeched, stumbling a little with the force of her words. Norman reached out, keeping her up, and she patted his heads. “Thanks Normans... but as I shaid. I reject! Theshe two sould nosh be wed!”

“For the love of God, Buff,” Marcy exclaimed. “Grow the fuck up.”

Marcy loomed over her, eyes barely staying open as she glared down at her.

“Telling sme to grows the fuck up, you hushy? Likesh you’re one to... t... talk! Junmei desershes someone better than you, than bosh of ush, but at least better than yoush, you fucking cunt.”

“You dare do this on my wedding day- on OUR- ON Junmei’s wedding day! Just look at yourself; he made the right choice. Now shoo. Go back to your Pokemans and your nerdy little things and let the adults move on with their lives. No one will miss you, so you can at least enjoy playing with yours-”

Buffy slapped her. It was a firm smack, right across the lips, and was followed by a punch square in the jaw. The music stuttered as Marcy backed into the podium, all eyes on the red-and-blue harpy. She gestured to herself, both hands cupped to her chest, and chortled as she guffawed, fanning them.

“You thinksh you are better than me, schlut? Youse think just cush you makesh fun of my hobby that makes yoush the bisher pershon? Wow, you watch movies. That requiresh even lesh brainpower than watching TV or paint dry. Get real, bitch; you were boring bitch then, and you’res going to be a boring cuntsh later down the line.”

Marcy.. wiped her mouth, and swung at Buffy, knocked away as Buffy punched her in the face again. Blood trickled from her nose, spraying up as she slammed into Samantha’s podium again, while Buffy tittered as she took three steps back, continuing to fan her arms.

“Looksh at that. I’m shitshfaced as fuck, and you couldn’t even land a punch. Can you do anything risht, aside taking other people’s men?”

“He is mine, you cunt!” Marcy shrieked, and pounced at Buffy, devolving into a whirlwind of feathers and blood. Norman chased after the whirling ball of death, trying to get in between the two, knocking aside tables, tearing down art, leaving huge gashes and stains on the walls. Their bickering rose, covering his begs, his pleads for them to stop. Feathers flew and floated down like snow, caught in the blood pooling on the ground and walls, while Junmei and Samantha simply watched on, frozen.

Fabric tore, and Marcy stopped a moment, showing that her dress had been completely torn open. Buffy giggled, wrenching them down both her arms, and knee’d her in the gut.

“What? That all you got, bitch! You suppose to be high-born, motherfucker. What’s so high and mighty about you now? You got owned- oh. Wait.” She spun on her left heel, catching Marcy’s face with her right as she whipped it out, stopping three-hundred-sixty before she walked backward into a desk, making an explosion gesture and sound. “Now you’ve been owned, bitch! What now! What now, huh?”

She lumbered up to Junmei, though it took a bit of time, side-stepping, almost toppling in places, but she managed to make it to him, and she smacked him, sniffling.

“I loved you, Junmei. I loved you so damn much... Then you break my heart by going with that basic bitch.”

Junmei sniffled, and reached out, rubbing her shoulders. His lips quivered, eyes sparkling with tears, dry heaving as he refused the sobs underneath.

“I think you should go,” he whispered, hoarse.

She looked into his eyes a moment, unblinking, but finally broke. Absolutely broken. The once proud, sure woman Samantha knew was completely gone, murdered and replaced by this sobbing heap before her. Her sobs went against the stuttering music, the projector and its picture above sparking and rippling as she did, the scene before them all a tragedy rather than a celebration.

“If that is what you truly wish,” Buffy croaked, at last, and turned away. She started out the room, head bowed, wiping at her eyes.

Unable to see Marcy swoop on her.

All words, all language was lost to her primal screeching and Buffy’s shrieks. Heavy wingbeats filled the air, pulling down the last of the art, of civility as Marcy circled her, lashing out with her taloned feet, tearing and slashing at her. Buffy winced, whimpered, but refused to cry out, covering her face as best she could as she swung out in between lashings, but it was only a matter of time before Marcy hit her target on the drunken harpy. Marcy had her by the throat, clenching it, raining blood down before she pulled it away.

Buffy gasped, gagged for breath, and looked back to Junmei one last time before Marcy pounced on her fully. She knocked her down, still screaming, cheering as the blood fountained, pressed out by her crunching claws. The gurgles became wheezes then one last sigh... but Marcy did not stop. Not even then. She continued to tear and ravage the corpse of her would-be rival, swooping around the room with it, coating it in its entrails. She didn’t stop until there was anything that even looked of Buffy left, little more than meat and feathers strewn over all.

Marcy landed beside Junmei again, his face paled and green, matching Norman’s... and Samantha’s. He audibly shuddered when she took his hands, looking him in the eyes.

“Samantha,” she said, too chipper for her own good. “Can you please fini-”

Junmei, though, revolted. He slapped away her hands, and even started towards the door.

“What is wrong with you?” He said, gagging as he wound around a piece of Buffy. “What are you!”

Marcy... simply smiled.

“I murdered for you, my love. For our love.” She reached out for his hands again, snarling as he avoided her touch. “Don’t run from me, Junmei. Don’t give me that look.”

“Are you blind! Look around. Look at what you have done.”

“It was for the best. She was going to be a constant thorn in my side. You could have stood up for me, could have stopped her from hitting me, but you respected that I could get the job done. And I did. You see? Every day is a new adventure for us, Junmei.”

“I think I’ve had enough adventure for one lifetime.” He wheeled about, tried to slither away, but she pounced on the sudden movement, making him fall flat on his face.

Right into Buffy’s face.

He coated it in bile as he looked back, panting. “Marcy! please.”

She giggled as she pulled him back, hand over hand, and cradled him in her arms... her nails sticking a touch too much to his throat.

“We are meant to be together, Junmei. I love you... and you love me... right... right! Say it.”

“Marcy... Buffy-”

“Had it coming. I wasn’t letting her off the hook, not after ruining MY wedding day, after trying to ruin MY marriage. After she had torn MY dress.” She shrugged it off, cooing as she pulled at his black belt. “How about we consummate? Right here? You can give me plenty of nagarpies? Hagas?”

He pushed away her hand again, backing towards the door, but that only deepened the anger in her face. She lashed out, grabbing his wrists, and cackled.

“What are you doing? Don’t think you are leaving me!”

“Marcy,” Norman began, touching her shoulder.

She shrieked as she kicked back, catching him in the chest with her bloody talon. He wheezed, falling back into a seat, and she pushed harder into Junmei’s embrace, tracing his chin.

“I love you, Junmei. Why can’t you understand that? I am so sick and fucking tired of beating around the bush. I have tried everything for you to see it, even gave you things I had never given anyone before, and yet you still seem so blind. What must I do, huh? What must I do for you to understand I love you.”

“Marcy,” Junmei whispered. “Please. Let me go. This isn’t you.”

“Yes it is. This is the real me. The possessive, harpy me. You said you wanted me to be me, well now you do! Aren’t you happy, Junmei? Aren’t you fucking happy!

“This was a mistake. All of it. I’m sorry, but I must call off this marriage.”

Her eyes went wide, and a coldness filled the room.

“Y... you don’t really mean that, Junmei.”

“But I d-”

“Exactly! You already said I Do. We are already married. It’s ’til death do us part, now! We’re together, forever... unless you are inclined to die, but you aren’t, are you?”

Junmei was silent... He looked at the door-

Marcy shrieked, and took to the air again, squawking renewed, beating him to it. She slammed it shut on his hands, clawed at his eyes, raked his face as he tried to bat her away. She tore his hood, hanging, flopping on either side as he tried his best to escape, slamming into desks and walls, making his way around the room. Marcy hit the projector, paused a moment as it sparked and crackled more then fell to the ground... but gave chase once more.

“Marcy, stop!” Samantha shrieked, metal swirling on her hand.

“You stay out of this, nigger! You and Norman. This is between me and my sweet, sweet hubby.”

She’s gone insane, she thought. I have to do something. I have to help Junm-

“Junmei!” Samantha cried out as he fell to the ground. Under Marcy’s claws. His tail whipped and snapped and cracked against desks, shattering them as she tried desperately to claw at his chest. At his neck. She caught his arm instead, ripping the skin from his hand, blood flowing free as she got ever closer to her prize.

Not seeing the tail rising behind her.

She cried out only a second as it coiled around her, pulling her into its muscle. Constricted. He huffed, sighed as he sat up, looking her in the eyes. Tears streamed down her face as he squeezed harder, harder, matching how much she clawed and pried. It cracked bone, matching the rivers of red that ran down those mauled scales and flesh, reducing her to her own pathetic pile of gurglings.

Marcy gagged and squawked, her face growing red as tears and bile and blood spilled from her eyes and mouth, simply looking into his eyes the entire time until they rolled into the back of her head. Even then, he continued to squeeze until he finally exhaled... and loosed her, letting her flop to the ground.

“You... you killed her,” Norman said... he finally found his feet, racing up to him. Tears fell as he shook his shoulders. “Hey! Junmei. Look at me, Junmei.”

He refused... Or, rather, couldn’t. His gaze was locked on Marcy’s corpse, face wracked with pain, with misery and defeat.

“Junmei. Listen to me, Junmei,” Norman said, pointing at her. “It’s not too late. You simply have to wish it. Wish her back, Junmei... quick.”

“It’s all my fault,” he muttered, his voice so hoarse, so far gone. “All of it.”

“Then make it right! Save h-”

“And what then?” He snapped at him, gesturing to the room around. “Save Buffy, too? Allow them to continue to fight? Let these... monsters be free... That’s exactly what they were. That’s exactly what I am, what we all are, Norman... We’re monsters.” He looked down at Marcy again. “We don’t deserve things like love... What I did was a mercy... Go, Norman. I’m sorry for ruining your holidays.”

Norman... sobbed as he stomped out of the room, leaving Samantha and Junmei in that tattered hall. Carol of the Bells once more emanated through the metal walls... Junmei scoffed, looking up at Samantha.

“I always hated this song,” he said... and closed his eyes as he saw Samantha’s face pale. As he heard the heels clack enter the room. Lilith strolled up to Junmei, and pushed one of her guns against his head. It was an even larger caliber than the one Samantha had up in her room-

And shook the very room as it barked.

The ground before Junmei was littered with his brain and face, reacquainted as he fell forward, still holding Marcy in his embrace.

“Sorry to ruin your evening, but I finally received word from the Egypt branch. He was to be terminated. Today,” Lilith stated, and holstered her gun. She stepped over his body, his tail still writhing, the last impulses of what mind he had left, twitching away ever slower, slower... and pulled out a new card for Samantha. She tried to hand it to her, but Samantha didn’t seem to have the strength to close her hand. Lilith helped it, squeezing firm, and gave her a sad smile, looking around. “I hired a couple cleaners along the way for Junmei; I’m sure they won’t mind for the extra. I wasn’t entirely sure what to get you for Christmas, so I left you a ham in th-”

“Have you no soul!” Samantha snapped at her. Metal danced around them. Wind shrieked in her ears, dulled by her heart, roaring. She waved to the bodies, to the... the meat laying around, the metal following her every move as the walls bent and groaned. “Is that all you have to say? Three people died today. One may have brought it on herself, but they were good people... and all you can say is you can have them removed?”

Lilith... simply sighed, and gave her a bored look.

“Do you forget where you are? These are the the Black Halls. This is a place people are held to be terminated. Remember this, Miss Coffey: anyone here can, and will, be exterminated. They will die. Most likely by my hand... Happy holidays, Sam. Enjoy the ham.”

And so she wheeled, heading down the aisle, leaving Samantha to wail. For what, though? For pain? Misery? Hatred? Lilith hummed along with the song, making it all seem that much more wrong. Her heels seemed to clacked along, as if pacing out each ding and every dong... and even Samantha was starting to hate the song. Merry Fucking Christmas.

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