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The only thing better than Christmas at home with her husband and family was Christmas at home with her husband, family, and friends. Alison had been eagerly awaiting the return of Rogue and Dakota's bunch to the castle for the holidays. She had already picked out a Christmas tree, which Longshot and John hauled home for her. It had lights on -- mostly Miyuki and Lisa's doing with Alison's supervision -- but, no ornaments yet. She figured that Gloria Jean and the boys could help with that when they arrived.

And they were coming early! That made it even better.

Despite her decreased mobility, Alison had been up early on the day they were scheduled to arrive. The castle was generally kept pretty clean, but she straightened anyway. And then... the baking! She hadn't felt such a strong urge to bake since the early months of her pregnancy. But, now, it was back in full force. By the time she finally tired of it, she had sugar cookies, gingerbread men, a gingerbread house, snowball cupcakes, and chocolate dipped pretzels.

She sat down in the kitchen to rest her feet and nibble on some gingerbread. Her little tea pot sat on the stove, happily brewing some peppermint tea. It might not be Christmas yet, but it sure smelled like Christmas.
shimmerandsing: (Ali and Longshot)
Alison had asked her husband to wake her early this morning. It was not a request he took lightly and she had to promise not to take the inevitable grouchiness out on him. Then she made him promise to remind her of that, too. Mornings were never her happy times, but add morning sickness to the equation and things really got out of hand. She did her best, but hormones got by her sometimes.

A little preparation helped, though. She had been sure to leave a few crackers and a bottle of warm ginger ale by her bedside before going to sleep the night before. She was still horribly nauseated when she got up, but at least she wasn't camped out on the floor of their bathroom. That was an improvement.

The tricky part was being unsure of whether or not she would run into Rogue downstairs. Or the kids. If she had, she'd have happily left them to it and gone back to bed. But, the kitchen was empty and quiet when she arrived. It wasn't that early, but there was no reason to be up early on a Sunday. And, she figured, the couple upstairs had a good reason to stay in bed.

It took a little over an hour and a lot of help from her hubby, but the hour went by fast. She nibbled as she cooked and felt a little better. When they finally left the kitchen, they were both fed and he was carrying a tray for her. She smiled and kissed him on the cheek as they paused outside Rogue and Dakota's bedroom door. And, then she continued up the stairs to their own bedroom. Longshot had promised to leave the tray by the bedroom door, knock, and then scurry up the stairs to snuggle back up with her. She always rested better when he was nearby.

The tray bore a breakfast for two under covered dishes. The puppy had been set free while they cooked to roam in the back yard, but it never hurt to be careful. Omelets, French toast, and bacon were warm off the stove. Blueberry muffins were baked aplenty the day before. And, for fun, an empty white wine bottle had been filled with chocolate milk and chilled in a bucket of ice beside two glasses.

A card on the tray read: Happy Birthday! Since it's your birthday and you're on vacation, you don't get to make your own breakfast. Ha! Today you have the option of spending the day with the kids, or leaving them here for us to stuff full of baked goods while you and Rogue do some proper sightseeing. A fun tour brochure is conveniently placed underneath you Vintage Moo if you decide to go. Longshot highly recommends the soba making classes. Either way, the two of you have reservations at a big fancy restaurant down town that I can't pronounce or spell, but Longshot assures me it's one of the best in town. No fancy dress or dancing required. Enjoy!

Love -- Alison and Longshot.
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Alison had made two very different calls when she woke up this morning.

The first was to the producer that had contacted her after her White Day performance. It had gone remarkably well and she had an appointment the following week to meet him at his studio for contract negotiation. She still hadn't completely absorbed the idea that she was going to make music professionally again. She had no idea how starting a career in Japan would work out for her. But, Longshot seemed to have enough confidence in her and her ability to be a star again to make up for any lack she might have. And, to be honest, those doubts were getting fewer and fewer. Every time she thought she wasn't going to make it, something good happened.

Probably all her husband's fault. Not that she minded.

The second call she made was to Robbie's father -- Longshot's surrogate father. John seemed glad to hear from her. Robbie had told him about her untimely demise and resurrection. After catching up for a few minutes, Alison had spilled the story about another trip to Mojoworld. This time, for Rogue's sake. She wasn't really surprised at his volunteering to join them. He was fond of Rogue and even more fond of Longshot and herself. He promised to be there as soon as he made a few arrangements at home and gathered the gear he would need.

It was quiet while she waited for him to arrive. Rogue had slept in -- probably the first sound sleep she'd had since Dakota had gone missing. Renewed hope did wonders for insomnia, Alison knew from firsthand experience. Longshot, too, had slept longer than usual. The emotional mess that had exploded all over his family the day before had worn him down.

Robbie and Miyuki were up at their usual crack of dawn and out at the barn feeding and working with the horses. Maponos was sprawled out across Alison's lap in a patch of morning sunshine as she sat on the couch and scritched his belly. The little monkey had managed, once again, to get his breakfast before she had. All that was left to feed in the castle were the people.
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Once she had stepped through the portal, Alison had set Star's boots and swords down and rushed to drag the futon mattress out and unfold it. She got it ready as quickly as possible for Longshot, once Star brought him through. The entire time, she muttered about wanting a place with real beds.

Too twitchy to stay still, she busied herself collecting blankets for the river swimmers and setting the coffee pot and teakettle on.
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It was a beautiful day for a picnic. Actually, it seemed like the Italian countryside rarely had a bad day for anything. Alison had been up, unreasonably early in her opinion, packing a large basket with food enough for a small army. She figured that was about what they had when you considered the five adults and four young children that would be in attendance.

She'd been forced to enlist Maria's help, considering her lack of cooking abilities. All she had to do was promise to monitor Longshot anytime he decided to cook something en flambé.

After that, it was just the simple tasks of corralling her husband and his faithful squire, and making a few quick calls. She even agreed to ride the horses out to the picnic site. With saddles, this time.
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It took most of the rest of the afternoon to bury the bodies of the rustlers and round up the stray horses. The animals had been penned up in a temporary enclosure until the barn could be rebuilt. The widow Jeannie assured them that she had family and neighbors who could assist her in the repairs, much to Alison's relief.

It was nearing dusk by the time they returned to town and Alison had broken away from the rest of the group to grab a quick nap before dinner.

The noise from the saloon below and the smell of food woke her earlier than her tired and sore body would have liked. She grumbled for a few moments and then remembered something that made her grin. She dug around in the bags from her trip to the mall with Rogue and eventually found what she was looking for. It took some doing to wriggle into the satin and lace confection of a dress... the corset alone was hell.

In the end, though, it was worth it to be able to bounce down the stairs in a full fledged saloon girl dress complete with lacy shawl to hide the bandage on her shoulder. Now, to find the rest of her rag-tag team of cowboys and girls...
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The only real differences between the Nexus Mall and a mall on any other planet in any other dimension are the clientele and the shops. Any shop you can think of, you can find there. And the same holds true for the shoppers.

Alison could swear that she had once seen the entire cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer hanging out in Hot Topic. She avoids that wing of the Mall now, at all costs.

After the promised trip through the best lingerie stores -- and really, who actually ever bought red, rubber body suits? -- a trip to the food court was in order. Woman cannot live on shopping alone. Chocolate milkshakes and giant, twisty pretzels were also required.


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Alison Blaire

September 2013

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