Big Dreams for Christmas

(Cubed Cinder)

December 23rd

Ten years ago, in the city of Twin Seeds, Claris and Elliot were two teenagers who had dreams of one day making it big. The road was tough for both, for obstacles such as stage fright (Claris) or tougher competition (Elliot), but the kids overcame their fears by warping themselves into Nightopia and helping the defender of the dreams themselves, NiGHTS. With the help of all their powers, NiGHTS was able to defeat the Wizeman and free Nightopia of its nightmarish ways.

Today, Claris and Elliot are both around 22 years old. They met in Nightopia ten years ago and became very good friends... in fact, they're roommates at Twin Seeds College. They are both about half a semester away from graduating, yet they both have very distinguished careers. Claris is a singer, performing every now and then in shows across the city of Twin Seeds. Elliot, meanwhile, has been playing basketball for Twin Seeds College for the past three years and has been voted one of the top all-stars in the nation.

But on this day, two days before Christmas, Claris and Elliot were out doing some relatively small Christmas shopping. They had already gotten most of the gifts they wanted to give for their families as early as a month ago... and good thing too. Claris and Elliot walked down the brightly lit city streets to see people fighting and scrambling to get the last of the top holiday items.
"Can you imagine that?" Elliot said.
"What's that?" Claris asked.
"Having to wait this long to do your shopping only to get caught in messes like this." Elliot said.
"Oh, yes... and isn't that wrong? It just hurts the Christmas spirit to see people resorting to this kind of behavior just to get their hands on some silly new game system. Whatever happened to good old fashioned Christmas cheer?" Claris said.
"Well, you have to admit, the Sega Dreamcast 360 is an amazing piece of hardware." Elliot said. Claris gave a disgruntled look to her friend.
"Hey... I didn't say I desperately wanted one." Elliot said. Claris smiled again and gave Elliot a light kiss on his face.
"You've gotten my Christmas present, right?" Claris asked. Elliot clenched his teeth a little upon hearing that... he still hadn't gotten something for Claris. But he certainly didn't want to hurt her feelings now, not when they're this close to Christmas.
"Well... yes, of course. I'll make sure you enjoy it on Christmas day." Elliot said.
"Ahhhhhh... thank you, Elliot. You've been like a big brother to me ever since we met almost ten years ago." Claris said, kissing him again.
"Gee, thanks. I guess." Elliot said. The two were now in front of the Twin Seeds Tower, which had a Christmas tree that was just as tall as the huge building standing to its right side.
"Well, I gotta go practice for my show tomorrow night. Catch you later?" Claris asked.
"Of course." Elliot said. Claris once more kissed Elliot on the face before she ran inside the tower.

Elliot then started walking down the streets again. Just then, one of Elliot's longtime friends and basketball teammates, Sam, came jumping out of the nearby empty trash can.
"Surprise!" Sam shouted. Elliot jumped a little bit, but not enough to look like he was scared stiff.
"Come on, Sam, you're starting to get more predictable by the minute." Elliot said.
"Hasn't stopped me before. So what's up, my friend?" Sam said.
"(sigh) I lied again. I said I got Claris a Christmas present, but the truth is... I don't know what I should get her. She's a singer, and there isn't anything noteworthy I can think of that a singer deserves." Elliot said.
"Gee, man, why not settle for some jewelry? She is a girl, after all." Sam said. The two stopped in front of a jewelry shop as Sam pointed at a wedding ring that glittered more than any other jewel that was on display.
"First off, I see her more as a woman and not just some girl. Second... I can't possibly afford any piece of jewelry. Heck... I can't even afford a Sega Dreamcast 360, so what does that tell you?" Elliot said.
"Awww... don't give up, man. Say, maybe I can help raise some allowance for you to get that!" Sam shouted.
"I appreciate the help, Sam, but I can't see anybody making five grand in just two days." Elliot said. He stared at the ring for at least a few more seconds before he shook his head to return back to reality.
"Listen, I gotta get home now. My family's probably getting worried by now." Elliot said.
"Alright, sure thing. See ya later man!" Sam said as he ran off.
"(sigh) Not if Claris clobbers me when she eventually learns the truth." Elliot said to himself as he put his hands in his coat pockets and slumped his way home.

Meanwhile, inside the auditorium of Twin Seeds Tower, Claris was facing a crisis of her own.
"WHAT!?!?!? What do you mean the show's been cancelled!?" Claris shouted to the producer, Jim.
"We're really sorry, Claris, but ticket sales haven't been where we want them to be, and the manager's been coming down my butt trying to put some super-dancing show in its place." Jim said.
"Well, didn't you tell him what my songs will mean to the Christmas spirit!? The people of this town need something relaxing to hear with all the riots that have been happening on the streets!" Claris shouted.
"Claris, please calm down... if I had to power to do something, I'd do it!" Jim said.
"No... it's always the same with people like you. Trying to commercialize Christmas instead of believing in the power of the Christmas spirit. Acts like this just ruin the true spirit of Christmas for everyone." Claris said. Jim's face started to beam red with anger now.
"Hey hey hey hey hey!!! Don't you go prima donna on me, young lady! I am your producer! I have to accept what we can and can't do, and so should you. And what I can do is say you have no right to talk to me like that!" Jim shouted.
"Whatever. I'm out of here!" Claris said as she started to run for the exit.
"Claris! You run away from me and you'll never work in this town again! CLARIS!!!" Jim shouted, but Claris paid no attention as she went through the double doors on her way out of Twin Seeds Tower.

Soon, both Claris and Elliot had both made their way back towards their respective homes, and both weren't feeling very cheerful. Elliot because he hadn't gotten that wonderful gift he keeps promising for Claris, and Claris because nobody will hear her wonderful voice on Christmas Eve because of some corporate higher-ups saying a boring dancing show would garner more ticket sales. Both eventually let their frustrations put them to sleep as they also wondered what the heck they could possibly do on Christmas Eve.

The next time Claris opened her eyes, the scenery was completely different. There was nothing but a lush white field of snow, with trees covered in snow as well as Christmas lights, and all the Nightopians sounded like they were singing Christmas carols. Claris had to look around some more before finally recognizing where she was at.
"Spring Valley... or maybe it's Winter Valley at this time of year?" Claris said to herself. Either way, she found herself back in one of her dream lands that she had originally visited over ten years ago when she was trying to save herself from a deadly nightmare involving stage freight. Suddenly, Claris felt a whiff of air fly behind her back, and she turned around to see her old friend...

"NiGHTS? Is that you?" Claris asked. NiGHTS, dressed up in the Christmas colors of red and white instead of its usual purple outfit, began to merge her (a she since this NiGHTS was befriended by Claris) body with Claris's so that the two can communicate with each other. When the merger was done, Claris and NiGHTS's bodies appeared at different intervals to the outside world, but in Claris's eyes, she was standing and talking with NiGHTS as if nothing had happened.
"Claris, it's been such a long time." NiGHTS said in her young female voice.
"I know. I can hardly believe it myself that it's been ten years." Claris said.
"You've certainly grown up. You're not the little girl I remember seeing for the first time." NiGHTS said. Claris was blushing thinking about her younger self.
"Oh come on, NiGHTS, I may be grown up, but I'm still a child at heart. I'm having so much fun in the real world." Claris said. The two (or one as the Nightopians saw them) then started to walk through the snowy grounds, talking more about what's been happening the past ten years.

"I see, so you are now a famous singer around Twin Seeds?" NiGHTS said.
"Yes, just Twin Seeds for now. Once I graduate from college, I'm hoping someone will sign me for a world tour." Claris said.
"That's wonderful. I would love to hear your voice if only I weren't forced to remain here as guardian of your dreams." NiGHTS said. Claris's smile gradually faded to that of a frown as she started to remember all the events that occured on December 23rd.
"Is there something troubling you, my dear Claris?" NiGHTS said. Claris looked around the Christmas scenery once more.
"Actually there is. I envy the Christmas spirit of your world, NiGHTS. I'm looking around and seeing Christmas cheer all around, and the spirit of Christmas is as strong as ever. It's nothing like that in my world. People pushing and shoving to get that very last gift, and if they don't get it, they're in foul moods. It's like Christmas doesn't even exist..." Claris said.
"I see..." NiGHTS said, listening carefully to her story.
"On top of that, my Christmas Eve show got cancelled because they want to play some stupid dancing show instead. Sure, ticket sales haven't been strong, but shows like this should be more about the spirit of Christmas, not about how much money you make!" Claris shouted.
"I understand." NiGHTS said.
"(sigh) I just wish there was something I could do..." Claris said. NiGHTS at first said nothing, and then smiled as she got an idea.
"Claris, surely you remember the Ideyas, right?" NiGHTS asked.
"Of course I do. They're represented by purity, wisdom, hope, intelligence, and most importantly, courage. They're magically sealed in the Ideya Chamber now that Wizeman's evil magic is gone throughout the land." Claris said.
"Very good, but did you know there is another powerful Ideya? The golden Ideya... which represents wishing." NiGHTS said.
"You mean an Ideya that grants wishes?" Claris said.
"Yep. Hardly anyone knows about it because of the power it possesses. But I fully trust you, Claris, and you're a girl that sounds like you could use a Christmas wish or two." NiGHTS said.
"You really think so?" Claris asked.
"I know so. Please, fly with me to the Spring Valley Hidden Temple, something only us NiGHTS have known about..." NiGHTS said. The two then started to fly towards the snow-filled sky as they searched for this hidden temple that would grant Claris the power of wishing.

Meanwhile, several miles away from Spring Valley was the equally beautiful, and likewise dressed in winter drab, Splash Garden. The ponds were frozen and were being used as ice skating rinks by the Nightopians. After walking around and admiring the scenery, Elliot came into contact with NiGHTS himself. After the two merged just like with Claris earlier, NiGHTS began to speak, this time in a male voice because it was with Elliot.
"Welcome back to Nightopia, Elliot." NiGHTS said.
"Thank you, NiGHTS. It's good to see you too." Elliot said.
"Indeed. Look at you... you're a real man now!" NiGHTS said.
"I know. That's what my basketball teammates tell me." Elliot said.
"Ah yes, basketball. I once tried to make a wish with the Magic Hoop somewhere in a land called Videoland." NiGHTS said. Elliot laughed a little and then looked around the scenery from NiGHTS' body perspective.
"Your land certainly knows how to celebrate Christmas. I like that ice skating pond over there." Elliot said.
"Ah, glad you do. That's a real hit with the Nightopians." NiGHTS said.
"Yeah. How about Christmas shopping?" Elliot asked.
"Oh, that's no problem. This being a dream world, there is a Santa Claus for the Nightopians to be thankful for." NiGHTS said.
"Oh yes... I forgot. Anything can happen here, and it usually does. I only wish there was really a Santa Claus in our world." Elliot said.
"Really?" NiGHTS asked.
"Really. You see... I've been trying to get something as a Christmas present for my good friend, Claris. I'm sure you remember her." Elliot said.
"Of course I do. She helped us defeat the evil Wizeman and free our world from his reign." NiGHTS said.
"Well, I've been trying to find a good Christmas present for her, and I have. There's this beautiful diamond ring that I saw in Twin Seeds Jewelry Shop. Sadly it's way outside my price range... about $5,000. All I have the $500 I got from my grandma as an early Christmas gift." Elliot said.
"Gee, why don't you just wish for a million dollars? That way you can buy her lots of presents!" NiGHTS said. Elliot giggled.
"I appreciate your input, my friend, but it's only a diamond ring that I wish to get her. Nothing else for either of us. Besides... it's kind of for a special occasion. It's not just to tell her how I feel about her, but to make her feel better as well. She called me before I went to bed saying her concert got canceled." Elliot said. NiGHTS smiled.
"I like that answer. Allow me to guide you to the Splash Garden Hidden Temple. There we will find a special Ideya that we NiGHTS have been guarding since the beginning of time." Much like with Claris and her own NiGHTS, Elliot and his NiGHTS flew through the skies in search of the hidden temple.

Meanwhile, several minutes later, Claris and her NiGHTS found the hidden temple in Spring Valley. Where was it? Nah... I can't tell you. Then the temple wouldn't be so hidden! But inside the temple was only one object... the golden Ideya. The Ideya that would grant one wish of anyone who touched it and possessed all five Ideya with them. Claris had all five of the well-known Ideya floating around her body thanks to the power of the NiGHTS. Speaking of which, the bodies were now seperate.
"Claris, do you promise to use the golden Ideya only for the purpose of all that is good?" NiGHTS asked as she held the golden Ideya in her hands, and spoke in English as well. Claris nodded.
"I promise from the bottom of my heart." Claris said. NiGHTS smiled and handed Claris the golden Ideya.
"Now make your wish to the Ideya." NiGHTS said.
"I wish I had the power to pass Christmas cheer to everyone in Twin Seeds on Christmas Eve, as well as intensify the Christmas spirit through the power of my voice." Claris said. The golden Ideya then started to glow brightly. This lasted for a few seconds before the light became too bright even for Claris's eyes. As she shielded them, everything went to black.

Same thing for Elliot over in Splash Gardens.
"I wish I could afford the one gift that will truly win the love of my life's heart." Elliot said to his golden Ideya.

December 24th

We now fast forward to 8 o'clock, the night of Christmas Eve. Claris, dressed up in a red and white skirt with Santa hat and boots (making her look like a young Mrs. Santa Claus if you will; and no, she was not at all cold in this outfit), walked down the streets of Twin Seeds, hoping the wish she made on the golden Ideya wasn't a dream.
Things didn't look so dreamy however as she looked around and saw the same ol' fights at the same ol' stores, especially at Cinder-mart where people were whining and complaining about not just the Sega Dreamcast 360 shortages but the fact that many of its most popular games, such as Killer Instinct 2164 or Dead or Alive: Attack of the 100-foot-tall Fighting Babes, were not on store shelves.
"(sigh) So much for the great golden Ideya. This Christmas can't possibly get any worse..." Claris said. Just then, a flash of light shone in front of Claris's eyes. She heard a familiar voice ringing in her head.
"No, my dear Claris, your wish shall soon come true." the female voice said.
"NiGHTS!? But..." Claris said.
"The power of the golden Ideya has given me the power to communicate with you in spirit." NiGHTS said.
"What is this about? Are you here to grant my wish?" Claris asked.
"That I am. Now hold on... your wish is my command." NiGHTS said. Just then, Claris looked around to see her perspective was changing. The buildings and the people that had been surrounding her were getting smaller. Claris began to grow!

She grew for about 15 seconds before the growth stopped. She looked around, as did the stunned people that had just witnessed her transformation into a 30-foot-tall giantess.
"Wha... What the... What's happened to me?" Claris said. NiGHTS's voice once again rang inside her head.
"Your wish has been granted, Claris. The spirit of Christmas is flowing strongly within your body." NiGHTS said.
"What are you talking about!? All that's happened to me is that I'm six times bigger than I should be!" Claris shouted. Some of the people who hadn't run away from the giantess looked at each other wondering who she could be talking to.
"Try closing and then opening your hands towards someone. Go ahead, give it a try!" NiGHTS said. Claris decided that arguing wasn't going to get her anywhere. She looked at a middle-aged lady that was backing away thinking the giant Claris was going to hurt her. But Claris did just what NiGHTS told her to do. She formed a fist with her right hand and watched as twinkling stars spilled out from the hand. She opened it up and out came a bicycle that magically floated down towards the lady.
"Oh my god... this is the bicycle my son wanted for Christmas! I've been looking everywhere for this!" the lady said.
"Is it really?" Claris asked.
"Oh thank you so much... giant lady! You're a Christmas miracle!" the lady shouted before she ran off, probably towards home. Claris slowly cracked a smile upon learning that the bike she had just formed was exactly what the lady had been searching for. She turned around and looked down at another person, a man that looked about ten years older than her. She kneeled down to make herself look less intimidating, something many giantesses over 30 feet tall have a problem in causing.
"I guess you've been looking for something too?" Claris said.
"Well... yeah, I guess... I've been wanting to get my brother a new snowboard... but alas, everyone has been sold out." the man said. Claris nodded.
"I see. Perhaps I can fix that for you." Claris said. She closed her hand again, let the magic stars pour out for a few seconds, and then opened it up again. Tada! The snowboard was in her right hand before she dropped it next to the man.
"Hohoho! Merry Christmas to all! Just call me Mrs. Santa Claus!" Claris said as she swung her hands left and right, letting all sorts of gifts fall down towards the crowd that was suddenly beaming with total happiness instead of frustration. They all looked over their gifts and then cheered for the giant Claris as she walked carefully down the streets, with some people going as far as calling her names like Mrs. Santa Claus or the Miracle on Twin Seeds Street. Just then, Claris received another telepathic message from NiGHTS.
"Claris, you might want to go to the Twin Seeds Tower soon. There's another part of your wish you must fulfill!" NiGHTS said. Claris nodded from hearing this and as soon as the last of the people wandering the Twin Seeds streets got their well-deserved gifts, she began walking the mile or so it would take her to reach the Twin Seeds Tower.

Meanwhile, several blocks away from where Claris had been walking around, Elliot was running towards the Twin Seeds Jewelry Shop. His own NiGHTS had instructed him to go there if the wish he made last night would ever true. Elliot had to slow his pace down to avoid running into a lot of happy folks that were celebrating getting their gifts from someone they called Mrs. Santa Claus. Of course, he hadn't realized yet that the Mrs. Claus was really a 30-foot-tall Claris that was using Nightopian power for this one night to give the gifts away.
"That's weird... I could swear every last one of these people were getting ready to curse a lot of store managers to death for not getting their Christmas presents in." Elliot said to himself. But he shrugged it off and slowly approached the jewelry shop. He could hear the lady behind the desk shouting out what Elliot would perceive as the biggest Christmas-time deal of his life.
"Hurry, hurry! Get your jewelry in time for Christmas day! 90% off all pieces of jewelry! This sale ends in four hours! 90% off! Get great deals like this 10-karat silver diamond ring! Normally $5,000, you can have it now for just $500!" the lady shouted. Elliot's heart must've skipped several beats based on how shocked he was from hearing that.
"Well, Elliot, there's the one gift you can afford that will truly win the love of my life's heart." NiGHTS said in Elliot's mind.
"My god... you're not kidding me." Elliot said softly. The lady advertised the $4500 discount on the silver diamond ring that Elliot wanted to bad, so he quickly ran up to the desk to meet with this lady.
"I'll take the silver diamond ring!" Elliot said as he pulled the $500 in cash he got from his grandmother's check out from his coat pocket.
"An excellent buy, good sir! You just made yourself a fine, fine deal!" the lady said.
"Oh, and could you put it in one of those small black cases? It's for a... special occasion." Elliot said.
"Aaaahhhh... I see. Don't tell me, young man, you're tying the knot!" the lady said as she took the ring out and slipped it in a black case before handing it to Elliot.
"Well, something like that. Thank you so much!" Elliot said as he waved goodbye to the lady behind the jewelry shop desk. Just then, as Elliot slipped the ring in his coat pocket, he looked up in the sky as he heard a familiar female voice that echoed around the skyline.
"Claris? But how can that be?" Elliot said to himself before he started running for the Twin Seeds Tower.

Indeed, the voice belonged to Claris as she stood alongside both the Twin Seeds Tower and its equally large Christmas tree. Wait... alongside? You bet. Somehow Claris grew again upon reaching the tower. This time she was an astounding 300 feet tall, almost the same size as the tower itself! This definitely caught every once-mad-and-now-happy Christmas shopper's attention as they looked up at the giantess.
"Thank you all for coming. I know this must be real strange for you to see someone as big as I am, but then again, you didn't think I could use magic to give you the gifts you seeked and bring some much needed Christmas cheer to this city. I can only bow down before every last one of you and say how proud I am to bring Christmas cheer to this city." Claris said. Everyone applauded as she bowed her head down towards the crowd and then back up.
"Now then, before I leave so that you can all be back with your families, I'd like to further enhance the spirit of Christmas with my voice. I hope you enjoy what I have to say." Claris said. Again, using the magic that had been granted to her by the golden Ideya, she pointed her finger at the loudspeakers that had been installed several weeks ago on top of Twin Seeds Tower so that the city could make large scale announcements. It started to blast out some very familiar Christmas songs, and Claris sung on every single one of them. She kept her body as still as she could, not wanting to cause any significant damage to the tower or the tree, although she did lean over while singing and tweaked the large ornaments to make them stand out better.

As she sung over the past 20 minutes, more and more people crowded around her to hear her beautiful voice. Soon, Elliot joined the crowd, and after one of the songs was over, Claris scanned the crowd to see all the people that were listening to her and joining with her Christmas spirit. She caught Elliot in the back of this pack and smiled before turning her face to look at the majority of the crowd.
"Ladies and gentlemen, for my final song of the night, I am going to dedicate this to a very good friend of mine, who has been with me through all the good and bad times. I could never live without the support of this friend, and this song is just for him." Claris said. The audience clapped before the song started playing. It was none other than Dreams Dreams, the song she made famous ten years ago in her singing debut. Claris started singing (song lyrics in purple):

In a dream I could see you are not far away
Anytime, anyplace, I can see your face
You are that special one that I have been waiting for
And I hope you're looking for someone like me

In my dreams I can hear you calling me
In the night, everything's so sweet
In your eyes I feel there's so much inside

In the nights, dream delight
I want to see you standing there
In the nights, dream delight
I've found someone who really cares
In the nights, dream delight
I want to see you smile again
In the nights, dream delight
You are the one I waited for

When Claris finished that last line, she bent herself down and reached into the crowd. The people among this crowd scampered so that they wouldn't be the ones in her hand, but one person did not move... Elliot. Claris picked up the tiny Elliot and placed him on her shoulder before she started singing again.

In a dream we can do everything we want to
There's nowhere I'd rather be but here with you
The stars above light the way only for you and I
I'm so glad I've found the one I've been looking for

Keep the dream of the one you're hoping for
Love can come through an open door
Just be strong and you are sure to find the one

By this point, the whole crowd was getting into the song and was dancing along with Claris.

In the nights, dream delight
I want to see you standing there
In the nights, dream delight
I've found someone who really cares
In the nights, dream delight
I want to see you smile again
In the nights, dream delight
You're the one I waited for

In the nights, dream delight
I want to see you standing there
In the nights, dream delight
I've found someone who really cares
In the nights, dream delight
I want to see you smile again
In the nights, dream delight
You're the one I waited for

After that last line, the music stopped, and the crowd cheered loudly for Claris as she bowed down for everyone. Elliot hung onto her hair to keep from falling off her shoulder.
"Thank you. Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!" Claris said before she made a big step over the crowd and started walking away not just from Twin Seeds Tower, but from the Twin Seeds city overall.

Outside of Twin Seeds and in the neighborhood that both Claris and Elliot lived in, Claris, still at 300 feet tall, walked down the streets a little ways before placing Elliot down on the road. At the exact moment she did that, Claris quickly shrunk back to her normal size.
"What was all that about?" Elliot asked.
"Magic!" Claris shouted. Elliot just gave a smug look as he obviously didn't believe her.
"No, seriously, I'll tell you what happened. Last night I was in Nightopia. I told NiGHTS about my story, and suddenly she tells me I can make my wishes come true if I possess the golden Ideya." Claris said.
"So that's how you were able to grow that big, and make your music come out of the Twin Seeds Tower's speakers?" Elliot said.
"Not really... I didn't plan on growing to such a huge size. I guess it was fun, though!" Claris said. Both 22-year-olds just shrugged it off.
"Well, the important thing is that the NiGHTS finally paid us back for all we did for them." Elliot said.
"Us? What do you mean?" Claris asked.
"Because I made a wish too. I wished for my present to you." Elliot said with a childish grin on his face. He then got down on one knee (despite it being buried in the snow) and pulled out the black case from his coat pocket. He opened it up and Claris gasped with her hands over her mouth as she looked at the silver diamond ring.
"Elliot... oh my god..." Claris said, now clutching her heart to catch her breath.
"Claris. We've been friends for such a long time. Ever since I first looked into your eyes ten years ago, I've been wanting to spend the rest of my life with you." Elliot said. Claris tried her best to fight back the tears that started to form up in her eyes.
"And so I ask you, Claris... will you marry me?" Elliot asked. Claris sniffed a little and wiped away her tears. She was building up strength to give Elliot the answer he deserved.
"Oh, Elliot... yes!" Claris shouted. She held out her hand and allowed Elliot to slip the ring on her finger. Then Elliot got back up and the two hugged and kissed each other in happiness, right as the Christmas fireworks show began far off in Twin Seeds.

Two of the NiGHTS, suddenly now in the real world, watched from the night sky above as Elliot pronounced his love for Claris, who of course happily accepted. They smiled to each other and then flew off towards the stars, happy to have been a part of their lives and wishing them a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and more importantly, a happy married life for the rest of their lives.