The Carolers

Nataku stopped, perching on a nearby rooftop (Washuu told her to stop doing that already, but she didn’t like walking among people: their nervous energies rubbed off on her and it made her jumpy) to listen to the carolers sing. They weren’t professionals, but their voices combined so well with each other that the music seemed to come alive.

She looked down at the street below. Just the “Golden Couple” was here so far—she had taken to giving these strangers nicknames appropriate to what she observed. The “Golden Couple” earned that distinction for almost always appearing together, at east with one another, complementary in every way imaginable.

They began the impromptu concert about a town named “be-su-re-he-mu”, first in a different language, and then in Japanese. As they finished up the last verse, they were joined by “Lady and the Tramp”. It wasn’t very nice of Nataku to think of the tall one with peach-fuzz hair in those terms, but the way he carried himself and the joking manner in which he argued with the others reminded her of that movie she watched a while back. Lady, though, lived up to her name: she was all grace and poise and just enough feminine wile to turn heads.

The next song was a more rousing number, “harking harold something something”. Tramp got a lighthearted ribbing from the group for mangling the lyrics. They went onto the next verse, and this time everyone behaved.

Third to arrive as “Angel”. Nataku couldn’t quite explain that nickname; it just seemed to fit. Angel didn’t dress or act like what Nataku knew of angels, nor the way she bickered with Tramp—they were at it again, Angel having heard from the others about Tramp’s amendments to the lyrics. A few words of rebuke from Lady quieted them down, although Tramp exchanged a few faces with Angel before they went onto the next song.

The lyrics were in another language again, a different one than before. The words sounded harsh, but the harmony of the five singers painted the very picture of a still, silent night.

Samui and Talon were the last to join the group. Nataku knew them both by name, as they visited Washuu’s lab every once in a while, and in fact seemed to be living with Washuu on and off. Washuu, however, was her usual secretive self when Nataku tried to ask her about it, making vague statements to “things beyond understanding”.

The group reorganized a bit to accommodate the newcomers, then continued singing. This tune was very triumphant in tone, like the mood on a coronation or when the victors stood at the end of a long and brutal war.

The final song of the night was something very lighthearted. Nataku remembered the lyrics quite well this time, because she almost fell off the roof laughing listening to them:

“Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve.
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe!”

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