SATURDAY EVENING - 1:37am 12/25/86 Laberman House

Jacob is comfortably numb and letting the hot Wissotzky tea swirl around in Bubbe’s favorite tea cup to find the perfect temperature. Sitting in her kitchen, with an HQ full of snoring, blow-off-a-lotta-steam, nogged-up and passed-out friends is the perfect way to remember her.

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“You always loved a house-full of happy loved ones. Tomorrow starts Hanukkah, Bubbe. (beat) I’ve never spent the holidays without you. I miss you, grandmother. Our world was shattered. But you taught me how to survive...and find the light in those you choose to call family. (beat) You’ll be with Zayde again soon. I’ll protect my mother and father. I’ll fight for what’s right and to make this world safe again. And I hope you’re proud of me, Bubbe. Proud of the man I’ve become.”

The door opens and Mike walks in. Sitting down across from Jacob, he still bears the smile that says so much about the best friend he has always been.

“I see you ditched the party for more exciting action. Nice, Laberman.”

He picks up Jacob’s cup and smells the still hot tea.

“Wissotzky. (beat) Your Bubbe is in a good place, you know that Jacob. And when Surin’s warriors bring your Zayde to her? Well, it’s all gonna be right. Trust me.”

Jacob grins.

“Trust you? What, you have some inside information, Paterson?”

“You forget. I’m Höryntheus, remember? I wear the Crown of Truth, so I kind of have a direct line on the what’s what. (beat) It’s my thing.”

The best friends laugh so hard Jacob tilts in his seat. Just like Zayde used to do.

Mike fishes something out from under his sweater.

“Look what I found. Actually brought a tear to my eye. (beat) Mikey’s drawings... At least he and his Brood are keeping the peace. I hope deep inside Mikey finds some peace too.”

They fall silent for a moment, remembering an old friend. Jacob sips at the tea.

“So, are the revellers still making Merry?”

“Well, Anthony nogged himself into oblivion after singing at least a dozen Christmas carols in fluent Nyverian...with just a wee Amendaran lilt. Smiling, of course. Joey curled up by the fire like a cat after a night of chasing mice. Caleb is out cold on the bed, clutching - no joke - clutching Jimmy the Raccoon in a Santa hat like some yard sale teddy bear. (beat) Good one, Dideo. Jason is sprawled out on the futon wrapped in that old afghan like a Corpesian burrito.”

Jacob smiles and sips his tea.

“And Steve? Is he still upset that he couldn’t bring Sophie?”

“Nah, drowning his sorrows in red wine made him all mellow. He’s in the bathtub with his guitar, trying his hardest to remember the chords to Stairway to Heaven. Let’s go tuck them in and have a last toast, you and me. It’s a silent night, Laberman. We deserve it.”

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