Christmas Countdown: December 4
John Myers hadn't known that the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense even had an outpost in Antarctica. Then again, this time last year, he hadn't known the B.P.R.D. even existed. But it did and they did, so thanks to Hellboy's machinations, John had found himself banished to the cold.
He didn't blame Hellboy for what he'd done. John's parents had gone missing when he was a boy and he and his siblings went to live with different relatives. Even the beloved uncle who'd taken John in had died too. John was well-used to losing the people he loved and knew what if felt like to want to clutch the ones you had left as close as possible. Hellboy loved Liz and finally had a chance to make a life with her. The demon wasn't going to let anyone stand in his way, especially not while he was still reeling from just having lost his father. Although Hellboy had experience with the paranormal, he was somewhat sheltered from `normal' life. It wasn't totally unexpected that he'd dealt with an assumed rival in such a high-handed way.
The irony was that it was unnecessary. It wasn't Liz that John had been interested in.
Abe had known the truth, but John begged him to stay silent. John would have preferred to stay near Hellboy, even if the demon was with someone else, but if Hellboy wanted him gone, then John was content to go. Besides, Hellboy was far more likely to believe in the tooth fairy than he would John being in love with him. It was best that he go, even Antarctica wasn't the destination that John would have chosen.
It was a small outpost and John manned it alone. He spent most of his time monitoring remote stations, but there was never a blip of activity. That was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because there was no one to grate against John's grief, but it was a curse because boredom and loneliness were constant companions. It felt like a forgotten corner of the world, but luckily John had at least one friend who remembered he existed.
Early in the evening, the computer buzzed, signaling an incoming call. John had been huddled in his nest of covers, reading a novel, but eagerly got up to answer. He kept one blanket wrapped around his shoulders as he seated himself in front of the webcam. Soon he saw Abe's familiar blue face.
"Abe, it's good to hear from you," he greeted the caller.
"It is good to hear your voice," Abe replied. He cocked his head to the side. "Do you feel well? You look a little pale."
John smiled. "It's not like there's a lot of sun here, Abe."
"A most inhospitable place," Abe shuddered. "To be surrounded by all of that water, but unable to swim in it because it's frozen. It's not a fit place for any living creature, John, especially not someone as warm as you."
John shrugged. "I'm where I need to be."
Where Hellboy needed him to be.
"I have news," Abe seemed hesitant, as though he knew that John's thoughts had turned to their mutual red friend.
"Is Hellboy okay?" John was quick to ask. He made himself add a second inquiry. "And Liz?"
"They're fine," Abe reassured him. "In fact, you should know that Liz is expecting."
"Expecting?" It took a moment for John to figure out what Abe meant; maybe the cold was getting to his brain. "She's pregnant?"
Abe nodded solemnly. "With twins."
John didn't even hesitate. "That's wonderful news."
Although he looked like a fish, Abe usually didn't act like one. He did a little at the moment, however, opening and closing his mouth a few times before speaking. "That is not exactly the reaction I expected from you."
"Hellboy is going to be a wonderful father," John answered. "Why wouldn't I be happy for him?"
Abe continued to flounder. "I just thought, given your own feelings for Red, that you would be a little sad."
John shook his head. "Loving someone means that you're happy for their good fortune, even if it's with someone else."
For some reason his comment just seemed to make Abe sad. "You're a better man than I am, John Myers."
"I doubt that," John protested. "How did Hellboy take the news?"
"About like you'd expect," Abe told him. "Although, you should also know that he, Liz and I have left the B.P.R.D. due to some unfortunate professional circumstances. "
"Left the B.P.R.D.?" John was more shocked by this tidbit than he was about Liz's pregnancy. "How will you get along? Both you and Hellboy will need help to stay hidden."
Abe smiled. "You really are in a remote outpost if you haven't heard. Secrecy is not what it used to be, at least where Red is concerned."
John felt his eyes go wide. "Hellboy went public?"
"In a manner of speaking," Abe sighed. "It really was unavoidable, although Director Manning doesn't agree." Abe smiled at John. "Your replacement as Red's handler was not as good at the job as you were."
John didn't pay much attention to the compliment. "What are you going to do? I mean, you have special needs and Hellboy, he has such a high metabolism, he'll never be able to afford to feed himself."
"Rest assured, John, we have the situation in hand," Abe told him. "Please, John, don't concern yourself. I didn't contact you to worry you; I just wanted to wish you joy of the season."
One day was very much like the next in Antarctica. John had lost track of the days. "Joy of the season?"
"It's Christmas Eve, John," Abe frowned. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I'm fine," John waved off Abe's concern. "I just don't pay much attention to the calendar. I check my stations every 36 hours, but other than that, there's not much reason to track time."
"Be that as it may, should you need assistance, you know how to contact me," Abe replied. "Hellboy is still your friend too, as is Liz."
"I know," John said softly. It would be a cold day indeed before he called either of them; John knew when he wasn't wanted.
"Merry Christmas, John," Abe told him before signing off. "May the New Year be kind to you."
"And you too," John answered. "Merry Christmas, Abe."
After the connection was broken, John went back to his bed and snuggled under the covers. Hellboy was going to be a father. The very thought made John warm inside; he only wished he could be there to see it.
Alone, John fell asleep on Christmas Eve. He didn't dream of sugar plums, but dreamt of baby Hellboys and smiled.
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