Skulduggery pleasant- The Night Before Christmas

What will happen to Valkrie this time as life, love and her double identity gets in the way on the night before Christmas? (Valkrie is 18 in this story and Darquesse is talking to her)

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1. 15 years ago

Gordon was writing his book. No news there- he was on the chapter when the main character is in a life changing situation...to choose his wife to live instead of his child. He was sure that if he worked hard now then he could get a bit of extra cash before the mad scrabble to get everyone a present for Christmas.

"Gordon! Stop writing and come here right now! That niece of yours is doing my head in!" Called Skulduggery Pleasant from the living room.

Sighing, Gordon logged off his computer, careful to save his fabulous work of course, and trudged over to the living room to find Stephanie, age 3, giggling and rolling over the floor, skulduggery, ghastly and ravel looking over her.

Ravel pointed at Skulduggery, "his fault" he explained.

"I merely poked her in the ribs!" Shot back Skulduggery.

Gordon could tell by the look on Skulduggery's face that he was completely amused by the screaming 3 year old on the floor and whatever apologies he was going to make are completely utter lies. Gordon also realised how smug a skull could look as Stephanie now sat up at pouted at Skulduggery.

"Uncle Gordon!!!" Squealed Stephanie as she now realised he was there.

"Hey there little one!" He said a he heaved her into his arms.

"He a meanie" she pouted looking straight at Skulduggery.

"Oh am I now- I'm offended, I thought we were friends" he teased at her chuckling.

" no not friends..." Stephanie tried to say but was cut off by skulduggery swooping at her, taking her from Gordon's arms and putting her into his own. She just squealed and squirmed, laughing all the way, until Skulduggery finally set her down. Stephanie, for her part, just laughed once more before losing interest in the skeleton in the middle of the room and plodded out. Gordon really wondered what went on in the mind of his little 3 year old niece.

"She's been like that all morning," said Ghastly.

"Little Devil she is." Added Ravel.

"Then I'm glad it's you guys looking after her and not me. Now if you'll excuse me I need to finish off my book if I want to get her that dolls house she keeps whinging at me about." Gordon said without much enthusiasm. But at the mention of the dolls house Stephanie ran in jumping up and down saying "dolls, dolls, dolls!"

All four men chuckled at her and Gordon gave her a quick hug before leaving to finish that book. 'God that child will be the death of me' he thought as he headed upstairs. What an odd morning to Christmas Eve. And what an odd feeling, leaving his niece with a talking skeleton and other magical beings. Of course, Stephanie didn't know that. She was only 3 after all! She won't remember any of this. But when she grows up, it'll be Gordon's problem to look after Stephanie. She won't be allowed to know about the magic and the monstrosities that live in this world. It's not that Gordon didn't want her to know... it's just that it will be too dangerous. Skulduggery already has an attachment to Stephanie so if anything happens to her because of magic....well, Gordon knew about his anger. And the violent edge to his friend. Just another thing to add to the list of dangers of Stephanie got involved in magic. But anyway, he had to push all those thoughts aside as it's time to get back into this book...

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