Leithe first shows up here.
Christmas Morning, Year 10 of the Addergoole School
Leithe opened the door Christmas morning – Shang’s door, though he kept saying it was their door – to a stack of brightly-wrapped packages.
“Shang? Did you order… presents?” She tried not to sound hopeful. She tried not to feel hopeful. He wasn’t very good at this whole thing, and she still wasn’t sure he understood that he was supposed to be trying.
“Order? No, uh.” She heard something shuffling around in the room. “I didn’t order any. Why?”
“There’s a stack of presents out here. My name, your name.” She glanced down the hall. “Everyone has them.” In the other direction, she saw Orlaith picking up a stack from outside Accalon’s door. “Not all the same, I don’t think. But everyone has something.”
“Hunh. Well, it is… nope, no ticking. You can bring them in, if you want.”
“I wonder if they’re from my parents. The ones to me, I mean. My parents don’t really write or anything but maybe they sent presents…” She was doing that thing where she kept talking. She pressed her lips together, picked up the presents, and brought them back into the room.
She had to struggle with them – the presents were heavy, and bulky – and was surprised when she found Shang helping her, taking the bulkiest ones from her. “Here. Here, you didn’t say they were that big. What… Idu Unutu… hunh. No poison, no bombs. Over here.”
Over here surprised her again; there was a tiny fake tree on his desk, that hadn’t been there before, and four small presents underneath.
In the hallway, someone was shouting. “Someone got me the Supername CD I wanted. Santa got me the CD I wanted!”
Leithe looked at the presents in her arms, labelled From Santa. Then the looked at Shang.
“Are you smiling? Are you crying?” He looked nervous. That was new.
“Both?” She was pretty sure she was doing both.
“Is that good?”
“I… yes?” She rubbed at her eyes. “Yes. I think so.”
“Good…. that’s good. Merry Christmas, Leithe.”
Outside, another voice was shouting about a rare strand of black pearls. Leithe shut the door.
“Merry Christmas, Shang.”
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