matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (Come Away O Human Child)
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Requested by [livejournal.com profile] ladyneferankh who wanted "one for A.I. Artificial Intelligence, something involving Christmas cheer, Teddy, David and Joe."

On the First Day of Christmas, the Matrix Refugee fanficced for ye:

An A.I. fic with David decorating his first Christmas tree.

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"David's First Christmas"

by "Matrix Refugee"

DISCLAIMER: I do not own “A.I., Artificial Intelligence”, its characters, settings, concepts or other indicia, which are the property of the late, great Stanley Kubrick, of DreamWorks SKG, Steven Spielberg, Warner Brothers, Amblin Entertainment, et al, based on characters and concepts created by Brian Aldiss

Author's Note: Very much an AU. David has clearly been rescued from his watery grave in Coney Island and has been returned to his family. Cute Christmas fluff and WAFF aplenty (though not without it's oddness: I seem to write WAFF tempered with darker elements). Also set features the trio who appear in more than a few of my Cecie Martin fics.



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A week before December 25th, Mommy started decorating the house for something she called "Christmas". David had never seen her so excited and happy, except perhaps when Martin came home and she was getting the house ready for his birth day party. And he had never seen the house such a jumble of boxes and bins overflowing with shiny decorations. The three of them -- Mommy, Teddy and he -- spent the day decorating what seemed to be every inch of the inside of the house with lights and greenery and red bows and snowflakes: a row of flowers with wide red petals seemed to have sprung up along the steps leading to the second floor. A small forest of miniature white birches glistening with artificial snow had grown up on the sideboard in the dining room. In the living room, she set up a small holoprojector on a table in the middle of the room. When they switched it on, white and gold snowflakes started to fall from the ceiling, fading before they reached the floor. David tried to catch them, but he quickly found they were holograms.

"What are all these pretty things for, Mommy?" David asked.

"All this is for Christmas, David," Mommy said. "It's a very special time of year when we remember the birth of a special child called Jesus, who grew up to be one of the greatest men who ever lived. He taught people to love one another and be kind and helpful to them, no matter who they were or how they lived. For many people, it's also a time for them to be with their family and friends, to celebrate friendship and kindness, and to give each other gifts to show how much they care for each other."

Martin came down the stairs carrying another box of decorations. Since the summer, he'd shot up several inches and he'd started to fill out, making him look closer to his age than he had when he had emerged from the cryostasis. "Don't tell me you're going to tell him that baby story about Santa Claus and the reindeer?" he asked.

"Who's Santa Claus?" David asked.

"Oh, that's a long story, but I'll tell you only a little of it," Mommy said. "On the night before Christmas, many children watch and wait for a jolly elf of a man to come with a magical flying sleigh drawn by reindeer, bringing presents, but he brings them only to good little boys and girls."

"Would he come here?" David asked.

"Nah, because I ain't been good," Martin said, mischievously. "Besides, I'm getting a bit old for that."

David looked up at Martin, then turned to Mommy with a worried frown. "Does that mean he wouldn't bring me anything? I've made your coffee every morning, and I help you and Teddy with the laundry."

Teddy nudged David's hand with one worn paw. "He would bring you a present, David. You're good for Mommy." Martin glared a little at Teddy, but said nothing.

"What could he bring me?" David asked.

"Well, usually Santa brings toys or other things like that, but you can wish for most anything," Mommy said.

"I'll have to think about that," David said.

"A toy asking for toys, this should be good," Martin said.

That night, Henry came home early and helped Mommy and Martin bring in from storage, a tall evergreen tree that looked and smelled so real, David thought at first it had come from a forest, bur he quickly realized that the clusters of needles looked a little too shiny, just like his skin. Henry and Mommy started draping it with strings of softly glowing colored LED lights. Mommy brought down from the attic a good-sized box shaped almost like a red and green treasure chest; she set it on the floor by the tree, kneeling beside it to lift the lid. Inside, lay dozens of brightly colored ornaments wrapped in white tissue paper: round glassy balls that fairly glowed in the light from the Christmas tree, snowflakes and angels, pine cones and jingle bells.

"Martin you want to help me show David how to put the ornaments on the tree?" Mommy asked.

"Nah, that's for little kids," Martin said, pushing off the Santa hat that Henry had popped onto his head. "Teddy can show him how."

As if he had heard and understood, Teddy got up from mending a rip in a Christmas stocking, and toddled over to the box of ornaments; he picked a red bauble out of the box and toddling over to the tree, he hung the ornament on a low branch. David watched and getting up, took a gold-painted pine cone from the box and hung it on a branch of the tree, just above her head.

"Mommy, can I ask you something about Christmas?" David asked, looking up at her. "If Christmas is a time to be with the ones you love and care about, do you think Joe could be with us? I care about him since he helped me try to find the Blue Fairy."

Monica and Henry looked at each other. Martin stared at David. "You got a wire loose in your head?" he said. Before he could say anything more, Mommy looked at Martin sternly. "Well, I suppose you could always write a letter to Santa and tell him," Mommy said.

"As a matter of fact, I think the newspaper is looking for Santa letters to print," Henry said.

"Aw, geez, what if some pervert reads it?" Martin groaned.

"They're likely to edit that part out," Henry said, in a low voice.

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A stack of brightly-colored envelopes plopped onto the desk at which Frank Sweitz, junior reporter at the Haddonfield Dispatch, sat opposite Hal McGeever, photographer and Frank's long time work partner and sometime friend. The secretary Mecha went on her way through the news room delivering mail

Frank snatched up his letters eagerly and removed the polymer band that held them together.

Hal looked up from the page of proofs he was examining. "You're up and at 'em about your mail today. What is it? New mail order bride?"

"Oh, go bite a lemon, Hal," Frank teased. "Haskell has me in charge of the Santa letters this year."

"Heh, better than mail order romance, you get to play Santa's helper," Hal said.

"Well, at this point, I'm just sorting out the obvious trolls and finding the ones that are fit to print," Frank demurred.

"I want this overpriced gadget, I want that overhyped widget," Hal said, in a falsetto that grated on the ear.

"Like you never sent a big long list to Santa?" Frank asked. "It's a rite of passage when you're a kid."

"Trust me: if we send begging letters to Santa, when I was in that State-run hellhole, we were asking for warm clothes or a mattress that didn't feel like it was stuffed with broken dishes," Hal said

"That's too bad," Frank said, sympathetically. "Every kid should have a chance to dream big and ask Santa for crazy things."

"Eh, water under the bridge," Hal said. "What have you got so far?"

Frank leafed over some of the letters. "Let's see: dinosaur Supertoy. Boy Bandz VR simulator. Here's one from David Swinton."

Hal's ears pricked up at this name, though he kept his grey-green eyes glued to the proof sheet. Frank opened the envelope and read aloud from the one sheet of cream-colored paper within. " 'Dear Santa Claus. I have been a good boy this year. I help Mommy and Teddy with the laundry and I pick up my toys when Henry tells me to. Mommy tells me that Christmas is a time to be with the people whom you love and care about. I have a friend named Joe who helped me find the Blue Fairy so I could go home to Mommy. Could you bring Joe back to me for Christmas?' " Frank looked up at Hal. "I'll bet this is the kid Mecha who had that big adventure earlier this year. The one who was looking for the Blue Fairy?"

"And now he wants a reunion with his buddy the sex-bot who showed him the way? Don't tell me you're going to tell Cecie about this one," Hal said. "Might not be safe to bring him around here after the mess he got into over the Bevins woman."

"Well, you got the issue with his license sorted out, didn't you?"

"Just barely: if you go through with it, you'd better warn Cecie to keep a close eye on him," Hal said.

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In the days leading up to Christmas, David hovered behind Mommy more than usual as she read the newspaper over her morning coffee. And if she didn't read it, he flipped through the pages himself, looking for his letter. But he saw no sign of it.

"They probably didn't print it because it sounded too weird," Martin said, at the dinner table two days before Christmas.

"Does that mean Santa won't see it?" David asked, worried. He looked up at Mommy for reassurance.

"They probably forwarded the letters to Santa, but they couldn't print all of them," Henry said. "There's still a chance that Santa will get it."

Later, when she and Henry were getting ready for bed, Monica turned to him with a smile as she fluffed their pillows. "That was very sweet, what you said to David about those letters."

"I had to tell him something to settle his mind, even if it was a half-truth at best," he said, taking his pillow from her.

She came around the foot of the bed and put her arms around his neck. "I think you're warming up to him."

He took her hands from his shoulders and held them in his own. "After a while, he is hard to think of as anything but a little boy," he admitted.

The next morning, as Mommy was cooking breakfast for Martin and herself, and David was making her coffee, the phone rang. David started to run to the phone to answer, but Mommy was one step quicker. "David, I'll get it," she said, reaching it and picking it up.

"Hello, Mrs. Swinton? I'm Cecie Martin, from Rouge City," a young woman's slightly husky voice said on the other end of the line. "You don't know me, but I know a bit about you from Frank Sweitz, a reporter at the Haddonfield Dispatch."

"Oh, is this about that letter?" Monica said, keeping her voice down so that David would not hear.

"Yes it is, and I think I can make that dream come true," Miss Martin said.

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That night, David sat by the french windows in the living room, with Teddy by his side looking at the lights reflected on the glass and up at the stars in the sky, waiting for Santa Claus, listening for the bells on his sleigh.

At length, Martin came into the living room, carrying a few wrapped packages which he stuffed under the tree. He turned and stared at David.

"Hey, fibrehead, what are you doing sitting there?" Martin asked.

David looked up at Martin. "I'm waiting for Santa to come," he said.

Martin laughed, but not cruelly. "You really are something. Santa ain't going to come, unless you're upstairs in bed, asleep."

"I can never sleep," David said, matter of factly.

"Well, as long as you're upstairs and you're quiet, that should be enough," Martin said.

"I'd rather stay here," David said.

"Okay, as long as you don't mind missing out on Christmas morning," Martin said, heading back to his own room.

Teddy put a paw on David's knee. "Martin is right," he said. "We should go upstairs."

"Okay," David said, and went upstairs, Teddy following him, to the bedroom Mommy had set up for him in what had been her sewing room. He lay down on the white couch-like bed and pulled up a blue blanket that lay draped over the bed. As he lay watching the silver mobile above him, he heard Mommy and Henry moving about, talking in excited whispers, but he knew better than to listen to what they said. He heard them going up and down the stairs till at length, they settled down for the night. All went quiet as the house settled down. He listened for the jingle of bells and the prancing of tiny hooves on the roof, but he never heard a thing. Had he missed Santa somehow, or was Martin right: had something he'd done caused Santa not to come to their house?

Or was Santa something like the Blue Fairy? Was she just something that people had made up with their minds? He lay there waiting for the night to pass, wondering what surprises lay there for him under the tree, amid the brightly wrapped packages. He decided that Santa must be real if Joe came to them.

At length, it grew light and he heard movement downstairs. Tiny bells jingled in the hallway. Had Santa come by for a late visit? He bounced up from the bed and ran down the stairs to the living room, Teddy at his heels.

He found Martin, Henry and Mommy already there, gathered about the brilliantly lit tree. "Hey, fibrehead, we were about to start opening packages without you," Martin said, teasing.

"Did he come? Did Santa come?" David asked.

"He certainly did," Henry said, looking up from where he knelt, rummaging among the packages under the tree.

David looked around the living room for any sign of Joe, but he saw nothing. "He didn't get my letter," he said.

Mommy gave him a mysterious smile. "Christmas isn't over yet."

Later that afternoon, while Martin was immersed in his new VR game, and David and Henry were helping Mommy cook, the doorbell pinged.

Henry set aside the greens he was tearing up for a salad. "Now who's this," he said, going for the door and pinging the intercom below. "Who is it?"

"Special delivery from Santa Claus," a girl's voice said cheerily.

"Come right up, we're expecting you," Henry said. The elevator chuffed and the doors slid open.

Two people stepped out, one was a young woman in a heavy black cloak and a black hat on her head, the other... was Joe. He looked different: his hair was reddish brown and not quite as smooth and his shirt and pants weren't as shiny, but his smile was just the same.

David got down from the chair at the kitchen table where he sat mixing spices for some baked apples and ran for the entryway. "Hey, Joe, whaddayah know?"

"Hello, David: so how is it with the little man who saved my brain?" Joe asked. "Did you ever find your Blue Fairy?"

"I found something better: I found my way home," David said.

Joe eyed him curiously, studying him. "Did you ever manage to become a real boy?" he asked.

"No, but Mommy and Henry and Martin all love me just the same," David said.

"Well, there is a chance that David could still grow up, in a sense," Henry said. "But that won't be for a while yet."

Joe smiled impishly. "Well then, you'll just have to let me know when you've grown, so that I can share with you the secrets of treating a woman like the goddess that she is." He looked sidewise at the lady in black who stood beside him. "As I do for this lady. David, this is Cecie Martin, the young woman with whom I now dwell. Cecie, this young man is David, the little one who went looking for the Blue Fairy and saved my beauty in the process."

"Why don't you join us for Christmas dinner?" Mommy offered. "I'm making plenty."

"I'd like to, but we're on our way to have dinner with some friends in town," Cecie said, leaning down to David's level. "But Joe's told me a lot about you, how you found him in the forest and how the two of you came to Rouge City, looking for the Blue Fairy. It's the stuff that fairy tales are made of."

"And it even has a happy ending, as all fairy tales should have,"
Joe said with a smile.

"He's real, then, Santa Claus really is real," David said, looking up at Mommy. "He might not have come in his sleigh, but he brought Joe to us."

"Well, with a little help from a friend who saw your letter," Cecie said with a smile.

Date: 2009-12-26 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyneferankh.livejournal.com
Oh my gosh--thank you so much for one of the last, and best--Christmas presents of the year :D . I loved your fic e'er so much, and it was about as close as possible to being perfect as anything can be!

Merry Christmas!

Date: 2009-12-27 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] matrixrefugee.livejournal.com
Merry Christmas to you, too! I have to admit, I was worried that this story might have read a bit thin, and I was fretting over the very ending. But I'm delighted that it turned out to your utter satisfaction!

Date: 2009-12-26 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crowdog66.livejournal.com
YAY!

What an adorable little fic. It gives me a nice warm Christmas-y glow inside. :) And it's great to see Frank, Hal, and Cecie again... I was going over some of the old chat logs yesterday. Good times, good times.

David and Joe... *sighs happily*

Date: 2009-12-27 07:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] matrixrefugee.livejournal.com
Mmm! This is not the last we'll see of the trio in the 12 Days of Fanfic. I'm glad to get them back into my head and I have at least a few more ideas involving them and other people from the place where the lions weep...

Date: 2009-12-29 05:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cornerofmadness.livejournal.com
very nice. I hadn't thought about this movie in years

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