White Christmas

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
with every Christmas card I write . . .

The palm trees are strung with lights and in the background he can hear the mariachi band playing for a group of tourists.  Trowa decides that his own personal little hell is Jingle Bells accompanied by the maracas, a trumpet and two vihuelas.  The violinist is out sick with the stomach flu or he’d also be contributing his addition to the much butchered carol.

They aren’t a bad band.  But somewhere around the fourteenth time they'd played it that day, he came to hate it.  The tourists on the other hand, love it.  A pasty white man in his late thirties, stands on top of his chair swinging a Santa hat and bellows, “Merry Christmas, baby!”  The music swells to a crescendo and people begin to stamp their feet.

Trowa stands behind the bar and wants to put a bullet to his head.

Who the hell would want to spend Christmas in a Mexican border town anyway?  Trowa polishes glasses and thinks about snowflakes and fireplaces and presents wrapped in shiny paper.  He’s never actually had a Christmas like that, but he saw it in a movie once and it looked like something he might like to try.

He even had a person picked out to give a gift to. 

A loud crash and he looks up to see the pasty tourist no longer on his chair but splayed out across the floor, giggling.  Trowa sighs and sets the cloth aside to go haul the man up.  There’d been no chance for gifts though, just an order to go to this crappy town and play bartender while monitoring drug traffic across the border.

If Trowa had a peso for every shipment that crossed the border he’d have exactly three pesos.   And of the three shipments he spotted; one had been allergy medicine, the second a briefcase of low-grade marijuana and the third, several cases of contraband tequila.  Business is either slow or this town isn’t the booming den of iniquity Preventer’s believes it to be.

Trowa diligently sends in his reports and waits to hear where he will be sent next.  In the meanwhile he tends the bar, and in his free time watches bad soap operas on television while writing postcards to send home.  He makes sure Commander Une receives the particularly tacky ones.

The group of tourists finally decide they’ve had enough fun for the night and stagger out the door.  Trowa helps the waitress clear the table and she splits the tip with him.  He knows she’s willing to share more than just money but he has no inclination to take up the offer.

He’s more into blondes anyway.

When his shift ends the manager sends him home with tamales his wife has made and Trowa holds them close, pleased because it’s the first Christmas gift he’s received this year.  They aren’t in a fancy package but the simplicity appeals to him.  And it means he won’t have to cook dinner.

The lights are on in his apartment and he reaches for the gun he’s not carrying.  It is in fact, tucked under the mattress in his apartment.  A fine place for it to be.  Cautiously he edges toward the door, trying the nob slowly and then pushing the door open as silently as possible.

The television is on and there is a groan of disgust from the couch.  “Oh come on Inez, he’s twice your age and has three kids already.  You can do much better.”

Trowa steps into the room and nearly drops the package in his hands.  “What are you doing here?”

Quatre holds up a crumpled postcard.  “I got your Christmas card.  You said you needed me, so I came.”

Trowa blinks and then shakes his head, confused.  “I don’t remember writing that.”

Quatre smiles and reaches up, grabbing Trowa’s collar and pulling him down until their lips are nearly touching.  “You didn’t.  I read between the lines.”       

And as their lips brush together, Trowa decides that right now, there is no better place to be.