Snowflakes fell gently, landing on one another until they slowly built up inch by inch. Some would hit the glass door leading to the backyard. Destiny would admire them, each one crafted so beautifully and unique. Tiny glittering crystals illuminated by the bright glowing moon. Demise once said she liked winter, mostly because all the weak things died. The second oldest Fate would tell the others with a chuckle, she had a twisted sense of humor.
Destiny enjoyed it, snow was beautiful when it first fell. But she would much rather enjoy it from the inside of the watermelon decorated kitchen while sipping hot chocolate than have to actually be out in the cold. The more time she spent with Chance and his brothers the more the Nexxis grew. She was cold enough as it was, going outside would just be too much.
Speculation had brought up a good point though. If even the Creators had an original name and a given name, then who named them? When Demise had first told Destiny about Speculation’s idea, the youngest Fate had thought it absolutely ludicrous. Now she wasn’t so sure. It hadn’t even been a month since the entire image Destiny had of what her Creator should be had changed. What else had she been wrong about?
Destiny watched the sunrise through the window. Clouds covered the sky, but they were thin and wispy, the beauty of the sky was still able to be seen past them. It started slow, the horizon lighting up with shades of blue and yellow. The twinkling stars faded from view as the more brilliant light of the white-yellow sun peaked over the trees as it rose in the East. The clouds, once a grayish blue, changed to peach, purple, and gold as the sun illuminated them. Even if The Divine Provenance wasn’t totally sane, the sky she had created was still as beautiful as ever.
The family room slowly filled with groans and yawns as everyone woke up, rubbing their aching backs from their uncomfortable positions. Sometime during the night the humans must have awoken and retreated back upstairs to their comfortable beds. Liliana, the only morning person in the house, had a bright smile while she ran downstairs to change, sporting a red footie pajamas with green trees and gold stars and blue ornaments scattered about. “Wake up wake up wake up!”
Felix followed, not that he had a choice. Liliana’s hand was firmly clenched around his bony wrist; likely she had dragged him out of bed. He looked far less energetic than his sister. His chestnut hair was still messy from sleep and his eyes were still half closed. But that didn’t stop Felix from attempting to glare at his sister as she dragged him through the house.
“Oh, you’re all already awake. All the better, now we can start early!” Liliana chirped as she saw everyone was sitting up, shielding their eyes from the intruding sunlight.
Felix stretched and moved over to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “Start what? Money is tight, we agreed no presents.”
Destiny had read about humans and their cultures, so she knew the general idea of Christmas. But she had never experienced one before. Back in Òrìsà there were only five holidays. One for each Creator to be celebrated individually, and one for all of them in general. But she still didn’t quite get the gift giving thing. Of course it was nice to get and give things, but it was so much better when it was a surprise and not an expected thing.
Liliana rolled her eyes impatiently. “Christmas isn’t about gifts. None of you have spirit do you? Well by the end of today I’ll fix that.”
Destiny didn’t doubt her. Liliana was a hardworking individual and when she was determined to do something there wasn’t anything that could stop her. “Well then, what’s the day’s plan?”
An hour later all eight of them were crammed onto a two-person couch, wearing onesies upon Liliana’s request. They were baggy on most of them, considering they had borrowed from Karma who claimed he had an entire treehouse dedicated to footsies. And Karma was tall and well-muscled, so it was exceptionally large on Fortune’s petite form. The TV was on a channel showing a parade. Liliana had laid out a plate of cookies from last night and glasses of milk that were labeled ‘for Santa’ for them to snack on.
Felix claimed he was losing feeling in his legs from being squished so they switched up their sitting arrangements. Lilliana sat between Destiny and Chance on the two-person couch. Demise and Luck took the armchair, the Fate tracing circles onto the Coincidences back. Fortune, Felix, and Karma were laying on their stomachs on the ground, playing Pictionary with sticky notes.
“So Red, what’s the deal? Is Santa real in Infinity land?”
Destiny rolled her eyes, even after spending a whole week explaining it to them, Felix still didn’t care to learn the names of the dimensions. “Just because I am one doesn’t mean I know all of them. Sure there are the famous ones like Déjà Vu or Temptation. But me knowing all of them is like you knowing every human.”
Felix nodded and pretended to think it over but it was obvious that what Destiny said went over his head. Perhaps he had too much eggnog. The pen was passed to him and Felix began a rather horrible daring of what looked to be an umbrella over a horse. “So is Santa real or not?”
“Carousel.” Karma named it easily and took the pen. “As far as I know Santa is not one of us. Some of us do look incredibly old though, maybe that’s how this thing started. Either way, an old guy who had been watching you all year breaks into your home to give you a gift. Sounds sketchy to me.”
Lilliana lightly kicked at her brother’s leg. “Do you even realize how spectacular this is? They are Infinities, an idea come to life. It’s like if you want to take a shower and there was a mermaid in the bathtub. Just because we didn’t know anything about them before she popped into our life doesn’t make her any less remarkable.”
Ever since Destiny had told them the truth, Lilliana had looked at her like she was an idol. Lili was a child at heart, she loved stories and the idea of magic. A dedicated worker, but secretly hoping there was something more than just boring repetitive human life that everyone lived. So when Destiny told her she was an Infinity it was like a switch flipped in the human.
Of course it’s a nice idea to think people look up to you, but this was a little unnerving. Destiny was still just a newly named Infinity, she hadn’t really done anything noteworthy yet. Not like Demise with Pompeii anyways. So Destiny didn’t quite believe Liliana should be looking at her with such respect, nor did she think she deserved it.
The rest of Christmas was fairly uneventful. They warmed up with grilled cheese and hot chocolate. For dinner they all helped prepare a feast of ham and pineapples. Destiny had eaten more in the past two weeks than she had had the entire year.
It was still early evening, but it was winter and the sunlit hours grew more fleeting by the day. It had stopped snowing halfway through supper, leaving them with a little over a foot of snow.
“Hey, Clover, remember that winter ’bout a hundred years back when we got lost in the North Pole? We ran into some polar bears, turns out they don’t actually drink soda. You hid behind our wall of snowmen, leaving me to save myself.” Karma started out with a laugh, but ended with a glare towards his brother.
Chance cleared his throat uneasily, he hated it when his brothers fought. “Right, that’s actually a good idea. Let’s go outside and build a snowman, there is plenty of snow.”
Liliana smiled brightly and jumped up, already halfway to grabbing her mittens. “See? I told you I’d get you the holiday spirit! We have to play in the magical Christmas snow, let’s go!”
She ran upstairs to grab the rest of her winter wear, leaving the other seven standing around the kitchen. Felix sighed and folded his napkin, standing up as well. “You guys heard my sister, let’s make her happy. A happy sibling is a happy life.”
Twenty minutes later the humans and Destiny had several layers of coats, thick winter boots, fluffy scarves and hats, and mittens lined with fake fur. Fortune and Demise had gone back to Òrìsà to change; Fortune from her powder blue dress and Demise from her black shirt and skirt, returning with normal clothes of the same color. Karma was still in his biker attire that he had worn since Destiny had met him, and Luck had yet to get out of his stained green dress shirt, all Chance had done was put on his coat that Destiny had left with the other day.
They all stepped out back, taking a second to admire the fresh fallen snow, untouched and glistening with the light of the falling sun. There were no fences, they had practically the entire field to themselves. Well, all the way until the tree line that is.
The five neighbors that Liliana had were a combination of old folks who had their grandkids over and newlyweds who had recently had their first kid. The streets hadn’t been plowed yet, but there were children’s footprints all over the snow covered street, the cul-de-sack giving them a perfect circle to play in. A little boy next door was making a snowman in his backyard and talking to an imaginary friend.
The snow behind Liliana’s home was untouched, perfect. Small uniquely crafted frozen crystals glittering in the light. The snow was a pure white where the sun touched it and a light bluish color where shadows prevented the sun from reaching. Nobody seemed to be the one who wanted to ruin the winter wonderland, except Demise who seemed to have no problem with it. She ran out a few feet, jumping into the fluffy white, and laid on her back to make a snow angel. After that it was a matter of seconds before the rest of them ran out, doing their own thing. Felix grabbed a sled from the garage and attempted to go down the barely there hill.
“Oomph!” Luck stumbled and fell to his knees as Karma threw a rather large snowball at the middle of his back. “You will pay for that!”
They chased each other around the house and to the driveway, trying to hit each other with piles of snow. Some missed due to everyone ducking and jumping out of the way, but more often than not the snow hit the intended target.
Eventually Fortune caught on and yelled, “Snowball fight! Boys versus girls!”
“Nope, that is sexist. Come on, we will be team captains.” Karma shook his head and gathered around the Fate with everyone else. They all agreed, though Karma probably wanted it this way just so he could beat up on his brother with balls of ice.
It turned out being Karma, Destiny, Felix, and Demise against Fortune, Chance, Liliana and Luck. Pretty soon there were makeshift snow walls as an attempt of a fort for each team. Broken up snowballs were everywhere and clothing was drenched from having snow thrown down the back of shirts. It was a vicious game, no rules and no boundaries. A war had begun, friend against friend, Concept against Concept, family against family.
Though it started in two teams it seemed to turn into several games. Demise and Luck started chasing each other around, paying no mind to the others. Liliana, Felix, and Fortune were having a three on three battle, everyone for themselves. Karma and Destiny walked back to back, looking out for each other as they found Chance and tackled him to the ground.
After at least a solid hour everyone had called it a draw. They sat in the snow, staring up at the setting sun. Liliana sighed in contentment. “I miss being a kid. Growing up was the worst decision I ever made. Don’t ever do it.”
“Don’t plan to.” Karma agreed and stood up, taking the party inside.
“You never really grow up; you just learn how to act in public. We conform to what society expects us to be.” Felix added as they took off their wet layers and threw them onto the coat rack.
“Yeah, a bunch of people looking to be in their twenties having a snowball fight. You aren’t as grown up as you think you are.” Chance teased lightly.
Liliana threw her arms around everyone, enforcing a group hug. “Thanks guys, you are the best.”
Felix nodded, a wild grin on his face. “I know I am.”
“And oh so modest.” Demise replied in her usual monotone voice.
Felix pouted at Destiny’s single eyebrow raise. “No fair with the eyebrow thing. That’s cheating. Not all of us are as talented as you.”
Destiny had never thought about it in that way. She thought it was just a thing everyone could do. But now that he had brought it up, she felt it was her duty to show off her skill. She made a huge show of lifting her right eyebrow, and then her left, and then making them dance.
Felix scrunched up his face, trying in vain to get it right. Chance joined in, showing off his perfect single eyebrow raise. Demise could almost get it; Fortune was helping her. Karma was doing his own thing with his face, and even Luck had managed to get it right. Surrounded by Infinities and even his sister who was rubbing it in his face, Felix grew more determined to get it right.
A bright flash from Liliana’s camera phone brought them all back to their senses. Felix glared at his sister. “You didn’t.”
“Oh yes I did. And look, it’s my new screensaver.” She held it up, showing off the picture of all their ridiculous faces.
“Well we got the goofy one, now we need a pretty one.” Fortune suggested, flashing her usual charming smile.
They all looked horrible. Wet messy hair, cheeks flushed from cold, snow still melting on some of their clothes. But they were happy, so nobody hesitated to squeeze into the shot. Liliana counted down from three, everyone flashing a bright smile.
She turned her phone around, inspecting the picture. “That one is getting framed.”
Destiny smiled, remembering the box of frames in the basement. Finally, one of them would be put to use.
They all smiled and moved over to the family room, getting comfortable. A fire blazed in the fireplace, warming up the room and bodies. Conversations started, getting louder and louder as they all began talking over each other.
Felix stood up after a while, clearing his throat to gain their attention. “Ladies and gentlemen, Infinities and humans, can we have your attention please.”
“Now, I know we agreed on no presents, but we had to do something for you.” Liliana sat on the couch, hands folded neatly in her lap. She nudged her brother eagerly.
Felix chuckled at his sister and sat next to her. He stuck his arm under the couch cushions until he found a small box with shiny red paper and a golden bow.
The Fate took it curiously, somewhat uncomfortable that everyone was staring at her. She untied the ribbon and unwrapped the paper, revealing a small cardboard box. Using her fingernail to rip off the tape, she finally opened it. Inside was a small metal key, which she held up, inspecting it. “What does it go to?”
Felix chuckled. “Oh Red, you silly duckling goose.”
Liliana shook her head at her brother. “Duckling goose? Really?”
Felix tilted his chin up, a defensive argument already prepared. “Yes, duckling goose. Everybody says silly goose, so I added duckling. Just for a creative new spin.”
Karma nodded and snapped his fingers, pointing at the human. “I like this one. I might have to steal that saying of yours.”
Liliana rolled her eyes, ignoring Karma completely. Over the past few days she had gotten rather good at that. “The key is to my house. I know you have to go on the whole saving the world adventure, but we wanted you to still have a place to come home to in this dimension. So this key is for you and your friends. Sure you can pop in whenever, but a physical key symbolizes that you are now officially a part of this family.”
Destiny was speechless, staring at the key in awe. A sudden warmth spread through Destiny’s chest, starting with her heart. Affection, she was feeling affection for the humans. Her face must have been full of expression; Chance was shaking his head slightly. He had warned her once to not grow attached to humans, but now it was too late.
Fortune stepped forward again taking all the attention off her sister. This time Destiny was grateful, she needed a moment to herself right now, so everyone staring at the blonde Fate was a welcome distraction. “I got you humans a thing as well.”
She closed her bright blue eyes, disappearing to Òrìsà most likely. She appeared a moment later with an overly stuffed expensive looking black and gray suitcase. “You two have been incredible to my little sister, and I am immensely thankful for that. And you have been so welcoming to the rest of us as well, I can’t even tell you the last time I felt close to a human. So this suitcase is from the six of us, as a thank you.”
“That’s my suitcase!” Demise protested. She backed down when she noticed Fortune’s warning glare, but not before mumbling, “it was my favorite one.”
The other five Infinities leaned forward eagerly, none of them quite sure what was in store. Felix and Liliana looked at each other and shrugged, each of them grabbing a zipper and pulling. Everyone but Fortune gasped as cash flooded out of the suitcase. Fresh printed crisp hundred dollars bound in stacks by rubber bands tumbled to the floor.
“This is way too much. We can’t accept this. I mean it’s a nice thought and all, but we didn’t become friends with all of you for the money.” Felix, though he looked thrilled, pushed the money back towards the Infinity.
“Take it. I insist.” Fortune smiled and pushed it back at the human.
“This is more than enough to pay off our debt and student loans. Thank you.” Liliana looked up at the Infinities with a smile. Felix was still digging through the endless money, his mouth hanging open slightly in shock.
Fortune shrugged like it was no big deal, and knowing her it really wasn’t. “Well you know, it’s kind of what I do. It’s in my name and all.”
“Well Ben Franklin, you are looking mighty fine today. I suppose I don’t mind being with an older man all that much.” Felix took out a crisp hundred-dollar bill and pointed to the face of some old dead guy who was important enough to make it onto the currency. He then proceeded to plant a kiss on the paper man’s face.
Everyone was having a jolly good time that night, sitting around the beautifully decorated tree and telling stories. The Tavera siblings went up to bed shortly before midnight, claiming they were tired. Humans, though they were truly remarkable, had such weak bodies and needed things like rest far too often. But the Fates and Coincidences, being Infinities, stayed awake. They all sat in a comfortable silence, each in their own thoughts. It was a good day, a happy Christmas.
Destiny knew tomorrow would be different. Tomorrow they would be finding the other Creators so they could put an end to one of them. Destiny turned the cold key over in her fingers for hours, staring at it and thinking about what it meant. After everything was said and done she would come back to the humans while still doing her job for her sisters. This was just the calm before the storm.