Good Fanfic Friday to everyone at Muppet Central. After much plotting and planning the individual scenes, here's the last entry for my Calendar Oneshot series. Deepest gratitudes go to Aunt Ru for helping polish each segment with her fairy godmother touch. So sit back and enjoy, and maybe you'll recognize a few references to other fics from our MC family. ------------- "January, You start the year off fine." The year started like most others, blanketing this slice of suburbia beneath an ocean of white wintery snow. Scooter ploughed through the streets on the old rowboat he'd borrowed with detachable runners gracing its sides. Some of the kids amused themselves, laughing before they were either pelted with packed snowballs or darting for the shelter of the townhouse's awning—declared by all as their game's safe zone. Further sheltered in one of the townhouse's apartments, Ed and Autumn were cozily entangled in each other's embrace upon the sofa, gazing dreamily into the gently flickering flames of the fireplace. Placing his mug of cocoa on the end table, he asked, "Should we do it now?" "Why not," came Autumn's reply, handing over her mug so it sat beside his. They looked forward to this little exchange every year, hoping each had been able to correctly gage the other's pleasure and surprise with these little gifts. "Open yours first," she insisted. "No, you open yours," he deferred. She gave a short laugh, its music unmatched to his ears. "Both at once?" "That's how we usually do it." "On three then." "Three." They opened their presents at the same time. Autumn undid the wrapping of her present, revealing a grinning jack o' lantern brooch with smaller jewelled pumpkin attachments. "Oh!" she cried, enchanted. Likewise, Ed had already liberated his own present from its wrapping, finding what turned out to be a bat-shaped keychain featuring a counting timer. Autumn talked him through how to work the clicking knobby buttons and buttons, delighted at his smile. Her arms were around him in an instant. The room was cozy and warm, but her affectionate hug and the smile on her face surpassed mere comfort. She lifted her head to gaze into his unshielded eyes and espied a sprig of greenery dangling down from the ceiling above. A glint of mischief danced briefly across her face. "Ed, Dearest, you should check if the lights are turned off." Puzzled—mostly because they had sufficient ambient light from the burning flames--he reached, grabbing for the cord. His puzzlement transformed into surprise when his hand clutched something oddly feathery and yet bristly. "Is that--" he began to ask, comprehension dawning. "Mmmhm," Autumn trilled, leaning in for the kiss which he graciously accepted. Autumn always seemed to know what to get him. ------------- "February, You're my little Valentine." The atmosphere in one particular New York hotel room had, from time to time, been steamy. Now it was more correct to say it was cozily warm. They had certainly enjoyed each other's company last night as they had wined and dined the evening away. Autumn had had a couple of glasses of wine, the claret matching her dress ("It's always important to accessorize," she'd teased.); but Ed, who did not imbibe, settled for a liquified version of his Death Valley Draft. Now, with the morning sun just peeking through the drawn curtains, she smiled a sweet smile as she gazed down at her sleeping beau, then brushed a feather-light kiss across his unfurrowed brow before rising. Sleepily, he stirred, tuned to her proximity. Ed's eyes opened a little, interrupting his somewhat unfinished slumber. "What time is it?" he asked, his fingers automatically straying toward the batty wristwatch he'd received as a present the month before. "Is it time to get up? Do I have an early call?" "It's early yet," Autumn murmured, "and you don’t have an early call today. In fact, you can go back to sleep. I'm going out for a bit, but I'll return in an hour or so." She sealed her promise with a quick kiss to his forehead. "Okay, thanks," he mumbled, acknowledging her statement as his head hit the pillow a second time and he was almost instantly asleep. Autumn lingered to watch him fall sleeping, then she smiled to herself and got dressed. Ready to face the day, she floated quietly out their shared room, descending down the elevator to the hotel's lobby. When Ed awoke a second time, he sat up and leaned back upon the bed's headboard, his thoughts swirling in a slow lazy figure-eight. Eventually his musings came to one that cheered him every single time. At the center of them—at the center of everything that was good—was Autumn. What a wonderful woman she was! From the first day they'd met until today, with all the starts and stops and comings and goings between them, she had managed to get under his skin in all the right ways. Their courtship had been unusual because of her penchant for disappearing whenever she was called away, but that only made him cherish the moments they spent together with greater fondness. The memories forged from their various outings as a couple, along with the special times spent with his own family—they were what he treasured most of all. While others might strive to find their "happy place", Ed's private batch of extra-special happy thoughts had come custom-made (and nicely packaged!) in the form of Autumn. "She's really quite an angel," he said softly. "Yes, an angel, with my heart in her hands." He knew his heart was safe there. The thought buoyed him as he got up, selected clean clothes and trundled off to the bathroom for a quick shower. After Ed emerged from the bathroom in a cloud of steam, dressed for the morning and toed into his house shoes, his ulfactory senses were assaulted by the sweet aroma of chocolate coffee frappes. Padding into the kitchen, he found his girl waiting for him with a wealth of pastries. "Another wonderful "Autumn" breakfast I see," he commented, "even though it's the "dead of winter"." Teasing her about her name never grew old, and she smiled and shook her head. "Please Darling—you're putting good bears out of work." Her reply lacked any true snark to it, owing mostly that she knew this was his brand of humor. Teasing aside, she loved his terrible puns and the glee he took springing them on anyone within range. "Well, we should at least try to amuse ourselves," he teased. "Even bears need a holiday." "True, but you should let me worry about how we can amuse ourselves," she responded archly. "I'm rather good at it." She heard him grinning behind her and smiled. "Yes ma'am," he said with mock meekness. "You're the boss." That made them both laugh, and Autumn turned and slipped into his arms. The day was early and full of promise. They had come to the Big Apple to celebrate a belated Valentine's Day watching Miss Piggy star on Broadway's current revival of Grease!, but today, well…it seemed likely that they would find something more…personal to do. ------------- "March, I'm gonna march you down the aisle." He glared grumpily from behind his horn-rimmed glasses. "How do I keep getting myself into these messes?" he thought dismally. His attempt to hide his scowl failed miserably. All Newsie could do was continue to glare anew at how he'd ended up here, deep to his pointy nose in monsters. It wasn't actually that he didn't recall the little invitation that had started this latest spot of sourness. But when, he groused, would his colleagues learn? He hated monsters--hated them, not because of prejudice, but out of outright fear of the things that made the night their territory. And now, here he sat, in a corner booth of a newly erected restaurant catering to their monstrous kind. The owner of the Bat, Bolt & Skull had decided to change his enterprise's purposes. Gone were the original toy store trappings. In its place now stood an eerie eatery, complete with a half-stage for local performers to provide some irregular entertainment. But before they were scheduled to open to the general population at large in Hensonville, there was to be a special soft opening for the monsters and the type of culture the establishment celebrated. An invitation had been sent out to Mr. Aloysius Crimp—aka The Newsman—as this most definitely fell under his field of Muppet-related news. And so, here he was, a pronounced scowl marring his facial features, at the same table as the owner and his other special guests—a numerian vampire and the theater's resident phantom dragon. The night's featured singer, a blonde woman clad in a flowing orange and brown autumnal dress signaled for the lights to be snapped off and on. The woman currently singing her heart out expertly might never have been on the stage in her life, but she loved the fact her swayne—not to mention her schedule—allowed her at least this one-time indulgence. When the lights came back on, the stage's colored ilumination made her look hauntingly attractive to the attentive crowd. She grabbed her mick for the quick spoken solo to the song she had been belting just before. "Okay girls," she said, nodding her head. "Let's show them how it's done. It ain't over till we say. And we've only just begun." Snapping her fingers to the tune's base rhythm, she beckoned the incoming trail of femeninity right down the open aisle to appreciative hoots and hollers from the crowd of creatures. "What!" Newsie cried, immediately startled as he recognized the girls. "Something wrong, Newsman?" the owner inquired. "It's just…just…I thought those girl monsters turned back into normal women!" Though he never saw them personally, he'd recalled what Gina had told him about that horrible time she'd spent participating against her will on some ill-conceived matrimonial competition TV show. "Oh, that," the owner of the club said, shrugging at the reporter's reaction. "Well, yes…but where do you think the actual monsters they were turned into came from? Dr. Van Neuter would like to take the credit for his transmogrificational advances, but all his syringe contained was a simple knockout liquid." Momentarily baffled, Newsie questioned, "Then who…or what are they?" Uncle Deadly, seated next to the man in the dark glasses helped by briefly describing the girls to him. "The gatorlike thing wearing a sarong is Ammit, from the banks of the muddy Nile in Egypt; the purple-haired monster is Mylrie Addums; and the lovely female prehistoric creature is Teryx Reptilana." "But wait," Newsie almost choked on his drink. "Does that mean…Gina! I kissed—" His face scrunched tighter in disgust, if such a thing was possible. "Oh no, that scene was done with Gina in full furry makeup. We were lucky enough to find a suitable stunt double for the rest of her scenes." The dragon pointed over, directing the journalist's gaze to a red-furred female werecat named Marbas dancing with some Thing. "Exactly how do you know about all these creatures in the first place?" Newsie demanded. "Well, I have to know about them in order to keep up my title as a lord of the underworld," he replied. "Lord huh. Does that make me your lady?" the lead songstress said, draping her arms around him. Ed grinned his merry grin, his teeth and eyes gleaming. "Of corpse babe, you'll always be my bleeding lady!” “Oh Ed,“ she purred. “You have such a way with words!” ------------- "April, You're the Easter Bunny when you smile." It was somewhere between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon this peaceful Hensonville spring day, and the townhouse should have been bathed in warm, brilliant sunshine. In truth, it had been for most of the morning, but storm clouds had appeared almost out of thin air, gradually beginning to smother all light. He changed quickly into shorts and a black T-shirt bearing the club's logo drawn in a powdered chalky outline form and trotted back to the apartment's couch, emerging triumphantly with a large, buttery bowl of popcorn just as his girl approached him. Autumn wore a bat-winged lavender turtleneck sweater that had a scarf sewn in, the rounded, large collar dotted with crosses. The sweater was so long and enough of a statement that she wore just crimson leggings beneath it. Her dainty feet were shod in a pair of little black slippers. He shifted the bowl of popcorn under one arm and reached for her hand. After the slightest of hesitations, Ed put his free hand in hers and let her lead him back to the couch's cushions. The air was suddenly assaulted by the thunder's booming echo. "Listen Darling, it's starting!" Autumn cried happily in reply to Ed's own grin. They settled comfortably to enjoy the show. Thanks to the large bay window they had a front row seat from which they would watch the welcome rainstorm. He loved rainstorms. No matter what mood he may have been experiencing previously, whenever he heard that first thunderclap he lit up, smiling a full wide smile. The fact that his remaining sight allowed him to lock onto the instant flash of lightning made him cherish the spectacle. Owing to one of his roommates, the inveterate habit of counting thunderclaps had been engrained into his own tick, seeing the ghostly numbers flicker in the air off to the side. And with her snuggled close, it was perhaps the most perfect feeling in the world. They munched and watched, marveling at Nature's spectacular show. "Enjoying yourself?" Autumn asked, amusedly and lazily indulgent. She loved to see him happy. "Very much," he answered. Despite her distracting presence at his side, he kept track of the lightningbolts as they flashed, enthusiastically noting their number. "How'd you know this is one of my "happy times"?" Ed asked, curiously, his arm around her slim shoulders. "Let's just say I have my sources for all sorts of information about you," she said, not willing to divulge her font of information. She took the empty popcorn bowl from him, reaching over deftly and setting it down with care on the end table. They watched the scene in silence, but the room seemed somehow closer and warmer than before. "This feels so nice," Ed murmured gratefully. Autumn had wrapped him up in the over-large wings of her sweater, looking up at him, a hint of mischief played around her eyes. Her hand graced his shoulder. "That's nice," he said languidly. Autumn leaned closer, slipping her arms around his waist. "How about this?" she murmured, whispering sweet, incendiary nothings into one of his ears. The lightning seemed to tingle along his skin. A deeper blush crept up his cheeks. "Better," he whispered. Thankfully, his gaze caught another flickering bolt, as he did not trust himself to look at her. With a little tug, Autumn leaned back against the cushions and pressed his unresisting form over hers. "And this?" It was hard to know what to say. There seemed to be just enough space on the couch for their intertwined forms, just enough room for his arms to creep around her and more than enough space for her lips to sneak up and kiss him on the neck. He sighed, abandoning all pretense of disinterest or shyness. He answered her slow kiss with deliberateness, savoring the luxury of time alone with his girl. ------------- "May, Maybe if I ask your dad and mom." It is often traditionally said that springtime is the time when a young man's fancy turns to love. This was particularly true of the blind club owner who resided in the townhouse apartments located within the city of Hensonville. His thoughts kept returning to his girl, and a sigh escaped from his lips every other second. They had shared some wonderful times the past year watching the Muppet Christmas Show in person in Las Vegas, then being whisked away (or as she had put it "being kidnapped") to see Miss Piggy on Broadway. His face broke out into a smile at that thought. "Heh, kidnapped indeed." Kidnapped…. But then his smile turned into a frown at the sudden apprehension. "I hope she hasn't been kidnapped." Last he'd heard from her she was on assignment somewhere tropical. On assignment…. That could mean any number of things. His brow creased, worried about the potential implications of Autumn alone, under cover and possibly in danger. "But what can I do when she's there and I'm stuck here?" In truth, Autumn was more than capable of dealing with whatever came her way, so it wasn't his protection that he really wanted to send her. What he wanted to send her was a sense of himself, a reminder of their time together, their bond when they were apart. But what to get the girl who can do everything? An idea suddenly sprang forth into his mind. "Yes, that could definitely work." The sound of his cane clacked quickly down the sidewalk as he made his way to Fran's, then back home to ask a favor of Aunt Ru. If she couldn't give out the address, he knew he could trust her implicitly to at least send it wherever his girl was. A young lady was checking into the room she'd reserved earlier that week. Her dark raven tresses were long and artfully swept back. Her complexion was smooth and radiant. There was elegance in every move, and she looked like some exotic flower suddenly blooming among daisies. Alone at last, she shed her dark wig, letting her shining blond locks shake free. Her hair was past her shoulders now, rapidly growing out from her shorter do, and she had experimented with the best way to put her hair up under the wig so that she could take it down in the privacy of her own room once all the curtains had been drawn shut. Autumn was smart—smart enough to know that she had to keep her identity a secret from prying eyes. She fluffed her loose curls, shaking them out into a more natural shape. She turned and paused for a moment, instantly alert. There was a parsel standing upright on the little coffee table. Her curiosity had been peaked, yet her senses were on alert. Who would know she was staying here, at this undisclosed hotel, at this …oh! The card with the little black bat stuck to the ribbon instantly told her who it was from. Upon opening the package's lid, the room was permeated with the most delicious scent of vanilla. Orchids! He had remembered! Carefully removing the vase, she gingerly held the flowers up to her nose, lightly inhaling their sweet smell. They aroused a surge of homesickness and loneliness even as it banished the same. She loved this visceral reminder of the man she loved and the home they'd made together. They were hardly conventional, but what they had worked. She missed him. She missed snuggling into his arms in their big bed, missed his absent-minded table conversation in the morning, missed his good-natured kvetching about her stockings drying over the shower rod and the charges on their credit cards. ("Mine's classified, Darling," she had laughed). She missed his books and bats and all the things that were so uniquely him. But, even as a pang of loneliness pierced her, Autumn realized he misses me too! She thought she could endure anything as long as she knew that. Whipping out her sleek phone, she punched the button that automatically dialed up his number. The jingle of violin music it played alerted him to who his caller was before he picked up the receiver. "Did you get them?" he asked, before she could say anything. "Yes, my darling Edward, and they're beautiful." Her voice was warm and a little husky. "You shouldn't have." "Nonsense, they make me think of you. Orchids represent refinement, and beauty, and that's what you are to me." He could hear the genuine blush creeping quite becomingly on her face. She smiled, wondering how he could know her better than she knew herself. "So, how did you know I would love the orchids?" she asked, her voice pitched low for his ears only. "Simplicity itself," he replied in kind. "I cheated." "What…?" "I asked your mom," he confessed, his voice wry. "There—my grand romantic gesture required help from your mother!" They laughed softly together. There was just time for a few murmured endearments, then Autumn ended the phone call. She carried the vase of orchids over to the nightstand where their luscious smell would lull her to sleep, mindful of his love and regard. She readied herself for bed, turned out the light and smiled, feeling cherished and loved. ------------- "June, They'll let me take you to your junior prom." The summer had started gloriously enough... Sun shining down during the daytime and cooling breezes lingering once night fell. Robin and his company of younger Muppets enjoyed their dates at the drive-in the week before. Now a sidewalk section of Hensonville got the boardwalk treatment with carnival rides in a nearby pavillion. Music from the carousel could be heard from across the street as the nighttime lights blinked into existance. Tapping his cane against the tiling, Ed leisurely walked along the promenade, Autumn matching his pace, until both stopped at a comfortable bench. The sounds surrounding them made Ed think of old high school memories, one in particular eliciting a sad little sigh. "Are you all right dear?" Autumn asked. "Yeah, well you know how great my prom was. It wasn't exactly the happy night everyone else may remember it as," he said flatly. "Didn't have a date?" she said, a pretty little smirk on her face. "Eh," he shrugged, "not really, I escorted my mom. It was…she was great, but prom just wasn't really that big a deal to me." She linked her arm with his, snuggling in. "Are you sure? You seem a little down thinking about it." "Well….” He hesitated. “When prom rolled around, I was still adjusting to being blind. All I could do was stay seated at the table, unable to get up without an aid. Even the lighting made me feel down because of the flashiness. I couldn't enjoy myself. To this day, she doesn't understand how much I try to be well-mannered in those sorts of situations, but it just never works out well." He sighed again, past and present memories colliding unhappily. Autumn was quiet, processing what he'd told her. She was glad he had shared this with her, this glimpse of who he had been before they met. After a moment, she reached out, taking his hand gently in hers. Ed returned the pressure of her hand, happy for her comfort. She sat up slightly. "I wish…do you wish I was your prom queen?" she asked in a voice that was soft and unintentionally husky. "Of corpse, " he wanted to blurt, but the words somehow wouldn't come. Autumn seemed to understand his silence as well as his words, and her own words were gentle. "I wish I could have been," Autumn said, with such wistful honesty that Ed felt a wave of feeling wash over him. He could hear her smiling, a beautiful sound. "I…that makes two of us," he returned at last. “It would have been…grand.” Autumn stood and pulled him up beside her. She put his arms around her waist and twined her own around his neck, nuzzling under his chin. “Prom with you would have been grand,” Autumn said, then she laughed and kissed him soundly (and quickly) on the lips. “We may be a bit too old for prom,” she said. “But we're not too old for a promenade!” In spite of himself, Ed laughed, dispelling the somber mood. “Please- leave comedy to the bears,” he groaned. But Autumn was unrepentant. “Where do you think I got that one?” she asked, and she took his hand and led him, merrily, down the lane. ------------- "July, You're like a firecracker all a-glow." While fireworks were exploding up in the night sky, another fire was crackling into life at the townhouse's outside patio. The bonfire's flames danced inside the stone circular pit, illuminating the faces of the campers seated around its edge on a pair of borrowed benches. Grisha, Misha, and Sasha, the triplet girlish bats chittered about their scouting achievements. Though they were all identical, each had a different scarit badge pinned to their fashionable little sashes. The eldest, Grisha, had gotten the Frog's Breath for her swamp swimming skills; Misha, the middle sister earned the Worm's Wart for finding prime cavesites based upon the surrounding rocky terrain; Sasha, the youngest won the Deadly Nightshade for recognizing which herbs were best suited for potions and such. The babble broke for a moment when they realized their den leader was calling them to attention. Quickly, they all quieted. They looked up to Autumn. They would do anything for her. Not only was she their troop's denmother, but she always inspired the trio to be the best bats they could be. "I think you've got their attention now dear," murmured her companion. The girls hushed, waiting for his blessing as well. He cleared his throat, sensing their eyes on him. "Well…I'm not big on speeches…but I'm proud of you lot." "Thank you sir," the triplets echoed, happy at receiving such honors. They giggled and smiled, basking in the praise as much as the firelight. All began toasting to their good-fellowship, meat skewering sticks dipping into the pyre at all angles. "Ed, Darling, lead us in a song," Autumn asked, knowing the song would bring him out of his shell. Like the girls, he could deny her nothing. "Of course. What should we sing? Any requests?" The girls lifted their claws in succession, relaying the hint to their denmother, who whispered it into his ear. "All fright, if that's what you want..." And away they started on a full round of The Bats Go Flying, smiles on everyone's faces as they enjoyed the warm summer night. ------------- "August, When you're on the beach, you steal the show." The Muppets had decided to do a sort of renaissance fair for their town, with games and jousts and even a wandering minstrel—er, gofer if you want to get technical about it. Walking through it all afforded one a fullsome experience. But in spite of the melodious singing, one voice had been perceived by the club owner's ears. Homing in on it—a talent born out of necessity to compensate for his impediment—he strolled away in its direction like a bat ghosting after its shadow. She smiled yet kept humming as he approached. Crunching the shoreline sands, his feet were instantly soaked in walking the short distance to the rocky pedestal. He hesitated in the water's rush, but seconds later her hands caught his, leading him to the haven she had made on a rocky outcropping. Some time later found them both lying against its surface, shielded from the sun's glare thanks to a well-placed open parasol, the heat still bearing down on the couple. Her hair spilled over one of her coffee-brown eyes, melting him under her fond gaze. His shirt had been tossed aside and her fingers lazily traced lotion-dabbed patterns across his frame. "Sorry I don't have any legs today," she said in a teasing manner. Autumn's perch on the rock was providing the ren fair patrons a chance to see a real “live” mermaid, and she had lolled and stretched on the rock to the great approval of many. "That's okay, I'm not much of a leg man," he replied, following up on the line she'd just set up for him. They both laughed at the old joke. "To tell the truth, I've always been intrigued by mermaids." "Have you now?" she murmured back, guiding his hands along her costume's shimmering scarlet scales all the way down to the tips of her flippers. His warm hands returned to the smooth skin at her waist, fingers brushing daringly beneath the waistline. "I don't come down to the sea that often," he murmured. "But I love seafood. And you, Darling, are a delectable dish." ------------- "September, I light the candles at your Sweet Sixteen." The thrill of cool air blew throughout town, welcoming the changing of the seasons. School started up another session, students eagerly embracing their classmates in swarming over the stomping grounds of academia. But it was now the weekend, and owing to a bumper crop of apples, there was a veritable hubbub going on. The kids had organized a Fall Dance festively decorating the borders of the pavillion with brown and red and orange. From a distance and at the right angle, one would swear it looked as though fashion police had raided the Newsman's plaid-provisioned pantry. Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers were all too glad to get the gig for the night, and the country twang of their music rang out merrily, teasing everybody's ears with tuneful harmonies. Light streamed from nearby lampposts now that darkness was encroaching. In keeping with the theme of the evening, some of the kids also lit candles for better ambient lighting. The fun of the evening came from the cauldron pot set up off to the side, seven red apples bobbing afloat in a pool of lemon-lime soda. Gonzo had lobbied for lime jello, but had been roundly voted down and, well, it had to be filled with something to slurp! Autumn's smile lit up the night on its own. This was after all, the time of year she had been named for, and she was in her glory. Positioning herself by the cauldron opposite from her lover, they agreed to start at the same time. Gripping the edges, they bent down and began to guzzle up liquid in an attempt to get at one of the apples. He had a distinct advantage over her in his penchant for this particular potable--not to mention his capacity for quoffing more than a fair share--but she made good progress of her own. She felt the solid skin of the apple brush against her lips and surged forward. One more doseage draft of liquid passed down her throat before she decided to make her move. Biting down gently but firmly, she leaned back upwards triumphantly, but her competitor had done the same at that very instant. They were kissing the same apple--and then they were kissing each other's lips--her fingers delicately plucking the apple away preventing their lips from fully meeting each other's. She held him still, giggling, while their mouths worked together a few seconds longer. The crowd egged them on, happy to see lovers at play. After a moment, breathless with laughter and exhertion, they broke apart to catch their breath. The crowd cheered as they both smiled lovingly and moved aside for the next couple to compete in like fashion. ------------- "October, Romeo and Juliette on Halloween." Nighttime brings out the crazies, especially when it's Halloween night. Sure, you have your local trick-or-treaters merrily collecting candy from almost every household except for that weirdo—no we don't mean Gonzo—the one who gives out toothbrushes. And then there are the monsters. Wait! Monsters? Yep, monsters capering up and down the streets. Along with ghosties and witches and pumpkinheads. Normally, that'd be par for the corpse, so to spook on this revered night. The Electric Mayhem's wails could be heard from inside the center of the labyrinth that was the town's haunted hang-out. After finding the right shoes—in New York City—Piggy literally crashed the scene discovering just what was what (or who). She looked a little like the bride of Frankenstein, but seemed--instead--to be the date of Charlie Chaplin. A green, web-footed Charlie Chaplin. "Vincent?" she gasped, spotting an old familiar friend. "But I thought he was—" "You called?" Piggy startled, pulling back and realizing it was a different friend. His black shades and batty cane would give him away every time she thought, but the gray tint to his normally chocolate hair and the mustache he'd allowed to let grow did make him appear more distinguished. And heck if he didn't have the voice perfected. Piggy eyed his date with interest. Surely this was Autumn, for where Ed went, Autumn was sure to be close-by. "And who are you supposed to be, Lady Guliette?" The human blonde merely smiled, showing off her newly-added dentals. "Isn't it obvious?" She vamped a little, flapping the sleek batwings attached to the sides of her classy screen-icon dress. "Murciliggyn Monroe." She playfully nipped her beau's ear, the tips of her little fangs doing little but imprint two quick pinpricks upon his lobe. Ed grinned, not at all distressed to be her Halloween treat. "Great," Piggy quipped, "that's just what we need around here, another dead stiff and his Ghoollywood madame." And off she went to continue mingling and claim a dance with her frog. ------------- "November, I'll give thanks that you belong to me." The streets of Hensonville were lined with all manner of people and Muppets eagerly anticipating the start of the Thanksgiving Day parade. Kermit had been asked, and he'd accepted a spot on a float honoring the city from where he'd sing his holiday hit. Affable as ever when not being assaulted by theatrical craziness, the frog mentioned the dinner being held at Rowlf's later in the afternoon. Although he couldn't attend, the club's owner sent his well wishes to the hosts. When he arrived at his apartment home in the city's main townhouse complex later that night, he could hear a faint flourish in the kitchen area. "Honey, are you home?" he called. An alluring vision in a wisp of a hostess gown sailed out to meet him. Something savory and spicy was wafting to his taste buds, making him realize how hungry he was. It was obvious that Autumn had had a busy morning working her magic in the kitchen, and seemed to be planning an evening working rather a different sort of magic--on him. She had managed to have all his favorites, and the pumpkin pie for dessert would have very nearly finished him off. While Autumn had not felt compelled to illustrate her cooking chops by roasting a 20-pound-turkey, there was more than enough for the both of them--and not just on the table. He'd known that she could cook--both literally and figuratively--and she'd just proved it once again. They seated themselves like civilized people, although their thoughts were far from civilized. "Would you like a thigh?" Autumn asked coquettishly. One of her long legs twined with his, threatening to put him off balance in more ways than one. "Or maybe a wing?" He felt the petal-soft touch of her fingers against his shoulder, her hand keeping him pinned down in his chair. Leaning closer, her voice was breathless in his ear. "Or perhaps you'd like a poultry poitrine." She deftly adjusted her décolletage, further enticing his appetite. “Just tell me what you'd like,” she teased, then let out a soft sigh of satisfaction when Ed pulled her close, right onto his lap, and kissed her, answering her teasing questions with certainty. "Baby," he murmured against her lips, "I'm positively starving, and you know perfectly well I want the whole, darn bird…." And a bird in the hand…well, it makes for a lot of thankfulness any time of year! ------------- "December, You're the present 'neath my Christmas tree." The pine cone smells of Christmas floated through the air, to the sound of jingling bells of Christmas. Hensonville humans and Fraggles alike delighted in having rung their clinkers and clankers and jing-janglers together. Only one more sleep till the vaunted night had come and gone, but everyone was still in the merriest of moods. The owner of the Bat, Bolt & Skull however was hunkered down in his offices, a mug of hot chocolate at his elbow, the numbers from the bills being crunched in the fashion one would munch through a candy cane. Autumn had gone out for a while, bundled in a festive coat borrowed from Mrs. Claus. Returning to find him still at work, she resorted to reading through a few of the holiday greetings they'd received in the day's mail. "Aren't you finished yet?" she asked. "Not yet," he replied, not looking her way. Bored with that after a good number of minutes, she decided to take matters—as well as her man—into her own lovely hands. She spun the chair around so he now face her rather than the computer screen, but when he might have protested, she opened the soft velvet cloak wide and drew him inside. It may have been cold outside, but it was very warm inside the cloak. Since showing him wouldn't work, she took his hands in hers and placed them where they were put to better use against the clingy silk of her dress. Always a quick study, Ed caught on and drew her supple body close to his, making her gasp. Autumn fell into his arms, showering him with kisses as he held her tight. Of all the gifts he'd ever gotten, Autumn's love seemed to fit the best. "I love," he said admiringly, his arms draped around her, "the way you make me play hooky from the urgent to take care of the important." "I was well taught," she murmured, thinking fondly of the many times she had seen Piggy pry Kermit away from the daily concerns of running the theater to play a little hooky (and make a little nooky). Autumn's eyes were shining, her arms tight around him. She touched his face, holding him close as she kissed him. "Lovely," she breathed when they broke apart. To Ed's astonishment, she stepped back, her hand cupping his flushed face. "You can go back to work now, Darling." "Work?! What do you mean, work?" he growled. For the first time in several hours, he didn't give a rat's patootie about the end of year figures. He was far too interested in the singular figure in front of him. "Work be darned! Don't I even get time off for good behavior?" Autumn laughed and leaned forward to put her lips close to his. "It depends," she murmured, "on how good you are." She let it sink in, delighted with the slow smile that spread across his face. "I'll certainly do my best," he promised solemnly, and he did.