[Fandom] Ashes to Ashes
[Notes/Summary] Alex lives through Christmas, 1981. Again.
Christmas 1981 had been bad enough the first time round. Not that Alex can remember much. Just that everything felt wrong, tasted wrong, from the carols on the radio to the turkey to the smell of a fake tree. And she was right in the middle of the nightmares where she got set on fire, so on Christmas Day she'd woken up at five a.m. in tears in a bedroom that wasn't hers.
So there is that Christmas, so close to her now that she might as well be peering through a frosty window. And all the other Christmases, the ones before, with her parents alive and helping her decorate the tree and Daddy putting the lights up, all more or less ruined because her parents' murderer is in them and she never knew. In time, she knows, she'll process the shock, mourn the loss of her parents all over again and work through the emotions surrounding the truth. But that time hasn't come yet. Right now she just feels sick.
And then there is the Christmas she should be having (or will have? Or has missed? Sam said that time didn't map exactly between the two worlds). With Molly. Molly pretending she's too cool for believing in Father Christmas, or getting excited over presents, but decorating the tree with the radio on, and curling up in Alex's bed on Christmas morning to open her stocking. The Christmas they should be having but might never get to, and Molly will be waking up in her own nightmare with everything looking wrong...
So she works really hard to pretend that Christmas isn't happening, but even in 1981 the season intrudes everywhere she looks, from tinsel in the office to carol singers on the next street over. On 24 December she gives up trying to pretend on her own and cracks open a bottle of wine. Falls asleep far too late for Santa to come. She can feel, all the same, that it is Christmas Eve. If she cries, she can put it down to the alcohol.
She wakes up with a headache and a mouth that tastes of sand and someone is thumping on the door.
Gene is standing there glaring at her as if she has dragged him out of bed. Under one arm is a bottle of – well, it's not actually Bollinger champagne, but it's green glass and lumpy gold paper and something fizzy. Alex blinks, and stares at him, and he says, "Got any bacon? It's not Christmas without a fry-up.”
Alex shakes her head and mumbles, “It isn't?” and then she is terrified he's going to leave and leave her alone and Christmas will be happening all around her and there'll be nothing she can do to stop it. She stammers that she's probably got some mushrooms. Bread. Maybe some eggs. Gene gives her a look that says he expected nothing better from her. “Better start with the bubbly, then. You going to let me in or what?”