"C'mon guys...please?" Emil begged. It was four p.m. on Christmas Eve and Emil was trying to convince one of his family to go to a store, any store, and get him some popsicles. At least one of the thieves was usually sick on Christmas; they liked to joke that it was part of their holiday tradition. And this year, it was Emil's turn. According to Dr. McCoy, Emil had a very bad throat and sinus infection, that was coupled with an equally bad cough. He was in rough shape. His throat hurt, he lost his voice on occasion and he didn't sound like himself when he did manage to talk. And all he wanted was popsicles to help ease the pain in his throat.
"Emil...it's b'low freezin' outside, hard as it is to b'lieve dat, an' it's Christmas Eve. De stores are gon' be closed soon, an' de ones dat are still open right now are gon' be jam packed full of people! You can live wit' orange juice an' ice cream. Can' you?" Theoren replied.
"We do have chocolate ice cream, y'know...we all know how much you love dat." Claude pointed out.
"B'sides, we've all been out already today...an' downtown is chaos to put it mildly." Genard continued. "Why couldn' you have asked for dem earlier?"
Emil shrugged. "I was asleep. I ain' now."
"Emil, we'd go for you, but we have a ton of stuff to do for dinner tonight and then preparing for tomorrow." Mercy said, speaking for herself and Zoe, before they both headed into the kitchen, leaving the four men alone.
Tears welled up in Emil's tired eyes, but he refused to let them fall. With a rejected sigh he turned away from his companions. "Nevermind. I'll live. I'm goin' back to bed."
After he left, Theoren closed all the blinds and curtains in the living room while Claude lit the fire and Genard went to see if there was anything he could do for the girls. They all knew Emil was disappointed and unhappy but they felt his request wasn't a very realistic one at that time.
None of them had known they were being watched and listened to, and they wouldn't have cared if they did know. The man watching from the shadows, a large voodoo master named Gris-Gris, was never one to care about anything regarding the thieves, and they wouldn't have expected him to do anything about the situation since it was their own and had nothing to do with him.
However, Gris-Gris actually felt bad for Emil deep down, although he would never openly admit it to anyone. He had hated the kid for years and wanted to keep up that aspect of their so-called relationship, but even he knew how it felt to be that ill, and he didn't think it was really quite fair for the other thieves, who were Emil's blood family, to so quickly and blatently shoot down his very simple request like that when he was too sick to go get the popsicles himself.
The thieves didn't notice the dark man walk quietly out of the safehouse into the very-un-New-Orleans-like weather several moments after Emil went back up to his room with tears in his eyes. They also didn't notice his return some twenty minutes later with a plastic bag in his hands. It had been very chaotic around the city, but it hadn't been too difficult to do what Emil had asked.
Gris-Gris slipped into the kitchen and placed most of the popsicles he'd bought into the freezer without getting so much as a glance from Mercy or Zoe, both of whom were too busy pouring over recipes and ingredients to pay attention to him. Good. That's just what he wanted, to not be noticed. He took one of the popsicles, a lime one because he remembered that was the kind Emil liked best, and slipped back out of the kitchen and walked up the main staircase of the safehouse and down the second floor hallway.
Gris stopped at his own bedroom first and dug around on his desk for a piece of paper and a pen. He was rushing, because he didn't want the popsicle to melt. Once he found a piece of colored paper and a pen that worked, he wrote a brief note.
"Dere's a dozen more of dese in de freezer in de kitchen. Merry Christmas."
Then he taped the note to the popsicle and went back down the hall. He was lucky in that Emil's bedroom door was shut. He didn't want the young thief to know who had got the popsicles for him. He set the popsicle down on the floor outside Emil's door and then knocked on the door before quickly darting back into his own room to watch.
Moments later he saw Emil open his door and look out. Emil frowned when he didn't see anybody, and was just turning to go back inside and shut the door when something on the floor caught his eye. As far as Gris was concerned it was worth going out in the cold on the busiest day of the year to see the smile that crossed Emil's pale face when he saw the popsicle on the floor and read the note that came with it.
Emil recognized Gris' handwriting immediately and looked towards the other man's room after he picked up the popsicle. He knew Gris was there, watching him, but he said nothing to draw attention to that fact. He merely smiled and went back into his room.
After dinner a couple of hours later, Fifolet went to the freezer to get out the ice cream and saw the popsicles in abundence in the freezer.
"Hey...where'd all dese popsicles come from? We didn' have any earlier..."
Emil, having figured out that Gris didn't want his good deed to be public knowledge, merely smiled and said softly,
"Someone wit' de Christmas spirit d'cided to play Secret Santa, I guess...Can you bring me one of dose please, Feef? I'd rather have one of dem dan ice cream."
Amid the uncomfortable looks the thieves were exchanging, Gris caught Emil's eye and nodded. He knew his secret was safe and more importantly, appreciated. No one else needed to know that Gris had been the one to fulfill Emil's wish. Sometimes it was secrets like that which showed the true spirit of the holidays.