Chapter 13: Gifts for Christmas
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It had been some time since they put Thawne away, and the days have been peaceful, but Carter could not help feel that a storm was brewing. He did not know why he felt like this, but he had a gut feeling that something big will happen in the coming days. He could not shake off the feeling. However, he had to set that feeling aside, in order to live his days peacefully.

Ever since the incident with Grodd and Thawne, Carter had been spending his time off at S.T.A.R. Labs. They knew that without the help of Dr. Roman, it would have taken Ralph and Ronnie longer to recover, they might have even died if he was not there to heal them. As a peace offering, Carter gave them his number, in case of a medical emergency. It started off like that at first but over time, everyone warmed up to him again.

Carter spent most of his nights patrolling the city for regular criminals and meta-human criminals. He spends his days off at S.T.A.R. Labs helping everyone in any way that he could.

A few days before Christmas, he was told that Barry, Joe, and Iris were inviting everyone at S.T.A.R. Labs for a Christmas Eve party. He knew that he needed to make a good impression on his new friends, so he decided to get them all Christmas presents. It took him a while to decide what to get them, and then it struck him. “I need to make a good impression. So what should I get everyone? That’s it I got it.” He knew what would make a good present.

It was a week before the party. “I need some time to prep. Looks like I need to go shopping.” He would need a lot of time to prepare their presents, so he left his apartment early, imprinted Solomon, and used his power to find places with a high concentration of magic energy. “High concentration, high concentration, where are you high magic concentration. Come to Papa.” He went to each location searching for stones with a high concentration of magic. It took him a few days, but he was able to obtain enough stones for everyone, and a few extra for safety measures. He also bought some silver pendants. “I’ve got the stones, and I’ve got the pendants. All that’s left is to make some jewelry.”

Using his magic, he bound the stones to the pendants. After he remade the pendants, he wrote several runes in the air before infusing them into the pendants. It took him an entire day to infuse the runes into the pendants. “Jewelry is done. No all that’s left is to turn them into protective charms.” The pendants he was going to give everyone were not regular pendants but magic pendants. Each pendant had been infused with protective runes to protect the wearer from damage to a certain extent. Whenever the wearer is about to take damage or get an injury, the pendant would create a barrier shielding them from harm.

“There’s still a few hours until the party. I definitely should get some boxes and have them gift wrapped.” He had already prepared the presents, now all that he needed were boxes for his pendants. He went to several jewelry shops in the city looking for any shops that were willing to sell their boxes. Most of the shops refused his request, but he finally found a shop willing to sell him just their boxes. As soon as he bought the boxes, he went home, and placed all of the pendants into individual boxes, and wrapping them.

When he finished preparing his presents, he imprinted Achilles and rode his chariot to the West house. He wanted to go by chariot because he liked the feeling of moving at such high speeds. He was told of the location of the house early on so as not to get lost. When he arrived over the house, he immediately imprinted Solomon and took on the form of Dr. Roman. Eddie had just walked up the driveway and was now on their front porch. Carter landed beside Eddie and greeted him. “Hey, Eddie. Hopefully, I’m not late.” Eddie then knocked on the door. When the door opened, they were greeted by Barry. “Roman, Eddie, come on in.” “Are we the last ones to arrive?” “Nope. You two are not the last ones to arrive.”

Carter and Eddie both entered the house and greeted Joe, Iris, and Cisco. “Joe, Iris, Cisco, Merry Christmas.” There were told to put their presents under the tree and that they open the presents after dinner. Not long afterward, there was a knock on the door. It was Caitlin, Ronnie, and Professor Stein. “Hey guys, Merry Christmas.” Everyone greeted each other and chatted for a while before the final guests arrive. “Merry Christmas.” When Dr. Wells and Ralph walked into the house, they found that everyone was already there. They also placed their presents underneath the tree before joining in the merriment.

After feasting on the Christmas Eve dinner. “That was delicious. I’m stuffed.” It was time for the exchange of presents. Everyone took their presents from under the tree and exchanged them with one another. The exchange continued for a while until it was time for Carter to present his gifts. He told everyone that he specially made these presents for them. “I was thinking of everyone when I made these. They’ll be able to save your life. So I hope you’ll like them and will always keep them on.” He took out the gifts he prepared and gave one to each one of the people there. He wrote their names on the boxes so that he could remember who would get what.

When everyone unwrapped their presents, they found that each one of them had received a jewelry box. Carter told them to open the boxes. “Come on, open it, open it.” When they opened the boxes, they were greeted with the sight of beautiful pendants. When everyone looked around, they realized that each person had a different stone on their pendants. Carter explained that he chose the stones that best represented them, ruby, cobalt, emerald, topaz, amber, sapphire, etc. “It took me a while to find and make those. So I hope you’ll cherish them. And before you ask me how much they cost, I’ll tell you now that they didn’t cost me a single cent. The stones I mean. I just did a little spelunking to get them.” He also told them that inscribed protective magic runes on each pendant. The wearer would be safe from a certain level of harm as long as they wear them around their necks.

When everyone heard the description given by Carter, there were amazed at how much thought went into his gift. He took their safety to heart, this warmed all their hearts, and more of their doubts towards him disappeared. The party continued till the late hours of the night.

 Since it was already late, Joe did not allow everyone to go home. He offered them to stay at his house for the night. “It’s getting late, and we’re all a little drunk so how about you guys stay here for the night?“ Everyone agreed seeing as how most of them were not very confident in their driving after drinking several glasses of wine and champagne. There were two extra rooms available. When they looked at each other, Cisco, Ralph, Eddie, and Carter came to a unanimous decision, and gave the rooms to the engaged couple and the ones that could be considered elderly. When Wells and Stein heard the decision from the four, they could not help but vent all their pent-up frustrations on the four for having the audacity to call them elderly. Joe, Barry, and Iris brought sleeping bags for the two who were sleeping on the floor and some pillows and blankets for the ones sleeping on the floor and on the couches.

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