Summary: Father Christmas has gone missing. Steed and Peel investigate.
Notes: Written for weakinteraction
This is a Choose Your Own Adventure, so you need to follow the choices linked at the bottom of each page.
It's a cold night, but Steed and Emma are warmed by mulled wine as they walk back to Steed's apartment after a Christmas party. Laughing as Steed regales her with a story one of his friends told him earlier in the night, Emma looks up. Among the few twinkling stars visible between the lampposts is something she didn't expect to see.
On the roof of a nearby house are a sleigh, nine reindeer and a figure in red with a white fur trim. Although it's not Father Christmas, unless he's grown long, dark hair recently. She disappears down the chimney as Emma elbows Steed and points to the roof. "You've just missed Mother Christmas."
Steed frowns, but one of the reindeer stomps a hoof and another grunts, making their presence known. "Don't you mean Father Christmas?"
"No." She's definite, but distracted, wanting to know what's going on. A figure on the roof wouldn't be something unusual - albeit an unusual route from which to burgle the house. The reindeer are odd though, and some of them are standing on thin air, the roof not being large enough to hold them all.
At last she spots an emergency staircase around the side of the house. "Come on!"
As she climbs, Steed is right behind her. And when they reach the top there's a figure emerging from the chimney. Who is definitely not Santa.
"I did think Father Christmas was a man," Steed says, doffing his bowler hat.
"He is. But he's vanished. Disappeared without a word on the most important night of the year. But someone has to deliver the presents and it's the Elves' night off." She sits down in the sleigh with a sigh.
Steed winces at her tone.
The sleigh contains a sack which looks like it's full of presents. But not a big enough sack for all the children in London, never mind the world. Perhaps the sack is bottomless.
"Can we help?" Emma asks.
Mrs Claus lights up as she stands. "I could do with a hand with the reindeer. They only like Santa." As she says it, one of them turns and nearly hits her with its horn.
"Bad girl." She shakes a finger at the reindeer, who tosses her head. Mrs Claus has to take a hasty step backwards to avoid being hit. The wet, sloping roof hasn't affected her and the way she walks on it makes it look like it could be the solid, level, ground.
She turns back to Steed and Emma. "Perhaps one of you could go to the house and see if there are any clues to his whereabouts."
Steed and Emma exchange glances with identical sceptical expressions. Neither of them has any experience with reindeer. And Lapland is a very long way away from London.
"Oh, you can take a reindeer to Lapland." Mrs Claus has correctly guessed the source of their hesitation. "It'll have you there in no time."
Steed answers for them both. "Then how could we say no?"