One Foggy Christmas Scheme



By Gary Curtis

Powerpuff Girls created by Craig McCracken

 

A/N: Thanks to Jennifer (parselmouthus) Weston for the title suggestion.

 

ONE

 

The City of Townsville...is a winter wonderland! Yes, everywhere you go, folks are hustling and bustling, hopping and bopping and holiday shopping under a fluffy, puffy blanket of white! Oh, I'm dreaming of a White Chr- Oww! Hey, who threw that?!

The soft, snow-padded quiet of the chill, sun-bright morning was shattered by a painful shout. Blossom's pink knit hat landed on the snowy ground at her feet, knocked there by the speeding missile fired from some unknown place. Her yellow plastic snow coaster fell to the ground, slipping out from under the arm of her pink nylon snowsuit. She touched the back of her sore head, and one of the cap's matching pink mittens came away covered with snow...and a few tiny green threads. The red-haired Powerpuff Girl's eyes narrowed in anger and she looked in the direction of the attacker.

"Buttercup! I find you, you're gonna get-"

Pow! Thwap! Smack! Splat!

Blossom's words were cut off by a fusillade of snowballs. She tried to run but they were coming from all directions, it seemed, and finally, all she could do was drop, cover up and deflect as many of the oversized, man-made hailstones as she could with her arms.

When they stopped, she groggily stood and looked around. She saw no trace of her sister anywhere, not even any tracks in the snow covering their back yard in the Townsville suburb of Pokey Oaks. But she knew Buttercup was here, somewhere. Hiding behind the garage, probably.

Blossom was in no mood to play cat-and-mouse games. All she'd wanted was a nice, fun time sliding up and down the moguls she'd built in the yard. She crouched, then blasted off straight up, high above the house...and that's when she saw...them!

"Bubbles, you little rat!"

Her sisters, bundled in their suits, hats and mittens, were laying in the snow next to the garage, guffawing madly, their faces glowing pink in the cold morning air. They were laughing so hard they didn't notice that she'd suddenly disappeared. Looking around for revenge, she saw her chance. The flat roof of the garage would do nicely. She zipped down to it, then started rolling a snowball into a giant one. When it was the right size, about eight feet across at the center, her super-strength allowed her to easily pick it up and drop it over the side. They saw it coming, but only in time to open their mouths.

Their screams were silenced by the huge snowball splatting down on top of them. Blossom wouldn't have heard them anyway; she was the one laughing now. But she, and her angry sisters when they erupted from the pile, spitting out snow, did hear...

"Girls!"

They whipped their heads to see Professor Utonium looking out at them from the open back door. He didn't appear to be too happy.

"What did I tell you about fighting?"

Buttercup was quick to protest her innocence. "But, Professor, we were only-"

"Computer, end program," he snapped.

The back door of their house became the door to the Danger Room. The three girls looked quite silly now, standing there in a large, empty white room in their bulky little snowsuits, wool hats, mittens and black boots. Their father said nothing more, just pointed. That was their signal that they were about to get a good scolding. They slumped their shoulders, and together, they floated through the door.

But this time there was to be no scolding. Just a finger pointing at the calendar, which read December 22, and a reminder of what that meant.

"Just because it's only three days 'til Christmas, it doesn't mean Santa's too busy to see who's being naughty. Now, go get cleaned up for lunch."

 

Whew, looks like the Girls got out of that one...but something tells me there's someone out there who's being very naughty...and couldn't care less what Santa thinks!

 

TWO

 

Indeed, at that very moment, the Powerpuff Girls' chief nemesis, Mojo Jojo, the evil green skinned super-villain chimpanzee and all-around nogoodnik, was in his lair, scheming.

He had long since given up on Santa Claus. He was sick and tired of getting Chia pets and banana-pattern underwear every year. He'd stood for hours, wish list in hand, in that long line down at the mall along with all of those accursed kids, for nothing. Never once had he gotten any of the things he'd asked for. There was no chance he'd get the thing he most wanted, a laser powerful enough to destroy those meddlesome Powerpuff Girls. Well, destroy them someday he would, with or without Santa Claus' help. But one thing he could do in the meantime was to destroy the Powerpuff Girls' Christmas celebration, and show that fat, old dwarf that he, Mojo Jojo, did not need his crummy presents. He turned to his latest invention, one he had toiled over for months in preparation for this year's Yuletide season.

The simian genius rubbed his gloved hands lovingly over the copper tubing of the monstrous contraption that practically filled his observatory. Pipes ran everywhere from a massive boiler, and finally up through the roof. He reflected momentarily that perhaps he had not been evil enough in the past; he certainly could have used some of Santa's legendary coal to fuel his latest weapon.

"Townsville does not have the foggiest notion of what I am about to do. But they will! Muahahahahaaa!! For, two evenings hence, I, Mojo Jojo, will unleash upon the world a fog so thick that no man or beast can find their way through it! And then, Santa Claus will have to stay home! And by staying home, that means he will not be delivering toys to all the good little boys, and especially, girls of the world! And no toys means I, Mojo Jojo, will have destroyed those accursed Powerpuff Girls! Um, their Christmas holiday will be destroyed, that is. The rest of them I am still working on..."

In spite of that fact, Mojo was still quite pleased with himself. So pleased that he decided he deserved a nice, hearty lunch.

"What to have?" he pondered aloud, still looking at his mechanical masterpiece. He grinned hugely when the thought came to him. "Ah, I know! Pea soup! Muahahahahaaa!!"

 


 

The next morning at the Utonium household, everyone was up early. For the girls, the Christmas countdown was down to two days, ones that would go by quickly. Today, there was lots of baking to be done. Already on the kitchen counter were the flour, sugar and other ingredients they'd need to create all sorts of holiday goodies. At the moment, though, the girls were seated at the table awaiting the breakfast Professor Utonium was making them, and the conversation was back on the previous day's subject...snow. Or, rather, the lack of it.

"It's gonna be another boring, green Christmas," Buttercup muttered, looking out the kitchen window. "It stinks!"

"We shoulda asked Santa to bring snow," Bubbles said.

Professor smiled as he put her plate of bunny-shaped pancakes before her. "Santa might be able to do all sorts of magic, honey, but controlling the weather isn't in that big sack of his, I'm afraid."

"Professor," Blossom asked. "How come we never get snow?"

"Well, Blossom, I wouldn't say we never get any. It's just very rare for our climate here in Townsville. Weather conditions have to be exactly right. The right temperature, the right amount of moisture in the atmosphere, the right-"

Buttercup grabbed her plate of monster-shaped cakes out of his hands, cutting off what she feared would be another of his long, dull scientific explanations. "Why don't you just let Blossom make it with her ice breath?"

Her sisters both grew wide-eyed and then smiled. "Hey, yeah, I could!" Blossom said, quite pleased with her sister's idea. But that was shot down in a hurry.

"No, Blossom," Professor said firmly, putting her normal-shaped pancakes in front of her. "It's an inappropriate use of your powers, and it might result in unforeseen problems. What if you accidentally created a blizzard so bad Santa couldn't get through?"

"Whoa, forget that idea!" Buttercup exclaimed, and her sisters nodded vigorously. Nobody'd thought of that. Glumly, the girls began to eat.

Professor noticed. "Now, cheer up, Girls. Having snow on Christmas isn't everything. And besides, you never know. Why, I heard on the radio that a storm front was coming tomorrow night-"

"Quick, put on the weather!" Blossom said. They had a small TV in the kitchen and Buttercup zipped out of her chair to grab the remote off the countertop next to the set. Her sisters glued their eyes to the TV eagerly while she flipped through the channels to find the right one, floating backwards through the air to her place at the table.

A man was standing next to an electronic map of North America. Huge circular shapes of many colors covered large parts of the map. They represented big storms, and the different colors meant more or less rain or snow, the darker, the heavier. Where Townsville would be was covered with a mass of light green. The man touched the places he was talking about with one hand.

"Much of the East will see a traditional white Christmas, with cold air coming down out of Canada across the Great Lakes producing some lake-effect snow. The South and Midwest should be clear and chilly. The northern plains will see light snow and very cold temperatures, while the Pacific Northwest will have periods of rain and fog. Here in Townsville, I'm afraid, it'll be another green Christmas. That is, if the expected fog rolling in off the ocean isn't too heavy."

"Nuts!" Buttercup flicked off the TV.

"Oh, well," Blossom sighed. "Lots of fog means all the bad guys will be staying home for Christmas Eve. That's one less thing to worry about."

Bubbles was very happy. "Oh boy! Fog! I can't wait!"

"Bubbles, are you crazy?" Buttercup said with a scowl.

"No," the blonde said back, unperturbed by her sister. "Fog means we might get to see Rudolph!"

"Rudolph!" Blossom exclaimed. "Hey, we forgot about that! Oh boy!"

"Professor!" Buttercup shouted. "We might get to see Rudolph!"

He was happy to see them cheered up, and he smiled to himself as he leaned against the counter, sipping his coffee. But he found it necessary to caution them. "Not if you're in bed sleeping, like you're supposed to be."

It dampened their enthusiasm only for a moment. Their newfound exuberance would last all day, and it manifested itself now in the form of happy singing.

"Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer...had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it...you would even say...

 


 

"This blows!" thundered Mojo Jojo, standing next to his huge fog machine, which was ironic, since his contraption would not be blowing fog the next evening. His face was buried in the morning Townsville Tribune, whose headline blared, 'Forecast: Fog; Rudolph Ready!'

Mojo crumpled the newspaper in anger and threw it to the floor, then stomped on it. He strode away towards his easy chair, muttering loudly.

"Currrrrses! Who ever heard of a reindeer with a light for a nose? A proboscis powerful enough to let you see where you are going? A schnozz with the sheen to schlep toys all over the place? A beak with a beacon that can beam on a trip around the world?"

As he strode and sputtered, Mojo grew less furious and more curious. By the time he finished his short rant, his eyes were wide in amazement. He stopped and raced back for the paper, picked it up, unfolded it and read some more. When he was through, he lowered it slowly and dropped it, and now his face was anything but angry. His glowing eyes and toothy grin said it all. He rubbed his gloved hands together in anticipation.

"A honker with the horsepower to fuel my finest, most destructive laser of them all! Thank you, Santa Claus, for bringing this monkey a banana with the brawn to destroy the Powerpuff Girls! Muahahahahaaa!!!!!"

 

Oh no! What a Scrooge! If Mojo's evil plan succeeds, it's Townsville who'll be visited by three ghosts this Christmas! God help us, every one!

 

THREE

 

Unaware of the sinister surprise Mojo Jojo was planning for them, the Powerpuff Girls and Professor Utonium kept themselves very busy in the kitchen throughout that day. They sifted flour and measured sugar, spices and other ingredients. They melted butter and cracked open eggs. They rolled out cookie dough and cut it into holiday shapes. They baked on cookie sheets, and cooled on racks, and decorated with frosting and colored sprinkles. They made a big mess and had lots of fun doing it, until it was late afternoon and it was time to clean up the kitchen for dinnertime.

"Dinnertime?" Buttercup made a face. A flour-covered one. "Uh, I'm not really hungry."

"Um, me neither, Professor," Bubbles said, wiping jelly from her hands onto her dress, which now bore every ingredient used that afternoon.

Blossom said nothing but gently pushed away the big frosting knife she'd been licking, hoping he wouldn't notice but forgetting about the green icing smeared all over her face and hands.

He frowned. "And just how many cookies did you girls sneak when I wasn't looking, hmmm?"

"Only one, Professor," Blossom said. "It's not that, we just need a rest. Maybe we can get a pizza later?"

"Yeah, while we finish wrapping presents!" Buttercup said brightly.

"Only one per batch, you mean," Professor said to himself with a smile on the inside. They did it every year. It worked every year, too. "OK, Girls. Why don't you go clean up and take a little nap, and I'll take care of this mess."

It was nothing compared to the mess waiting for them.

 


 

Of course, now Mojo Jojo's original scheme was back to being a 'go'. But, his greatest, most brilliant evil plan ever had one small problem. His laser would require the actual hooking up to the creature with the powerful nose, and that meant getting Rudolph to his lair, and also having the time to do the necessary tinkering.

But no problem was too big for his superior intellect. It would be so easy. Just the threat of fog meant Santa would not be leaving Rudolph behind at the North Pole. That was good. For Mojo remembered that it was not the same time everywhere at once. It was already tomorrow in places like Australia and Japan. Santa would start there and work his way west. Townsville would be one of the last places he would visit.

Because of this, he could delay causing his big fog, thus allowing the Powerpuff Girls to be in bed and Santa to be a long way from Townsville when he ran into it. And that's when Mojo's scheme would really go into effect.

First, he readied his best laser weapon, a very large one. When it was ready, he positioned it so that it was aimed directly at the front door. It swiveled, so he could aim it at the ceiling in case the Powerpuffs came in that way. They did that a lot. Next, he constructed a pen to hold the captured Rudolph in. It was made out of a special clear material that would let the critter in, but not out. When that was done, he wired to his laser the device he would attach to that powerful nose. All kinds of indicator meters and lights on a control panel, in his hand while he sat in his chair, would tell him the right time to push the red button that would finish those mutant pests once and for all.

When that was all done, he did three more things. He put his very special camera and infra-red glasses into his backpack. He made sure his kinetically-activated personal ultrasonic transportation (KAPUT) device was in good working order. It was, of course, because Mojo Jojo would not own devices that did not work. It was basically a mini-jet that ran on a perpetual-motion engine. All he had to do was start it moving and it wouldn't stop.

Satisfied that all was to his satisfaction, Mojo did the third and final thing he would do that evening. He went to bed; to dream dreams of destroyed Powerpuffs and world domination and sugarplums that danced in his oversized head.

 


 

Bubbles put the big, bright blue bow in the center of the matching ribbon around the package wrapped in shiny, silver paper. Buttercup attached the little snowman-shaped tag that said, 'To Professor, love, Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles'.

"Do you think he'll like it?" Bubbles wanted to know.

"He better," Buttercup said. "It took my last cent."

"He'll like it, for two reasons," Blossom said confidently. "We're giving it to him."

Buttercup frowned. "Well, what's the other one?"

"It's not something we made."

They broke up giggling over that. Blossom took the package and placed it gently under the brightly-lit tree in the living room, along with the other gifts they'd be exchanging in two more wake-ups.

"That's the last one, Professor!" the red-haired 'Puff called out. "You can come back in now!"

Holding his coffee mug, Professor Utonium gingerly stuck his head around the corner from the hall, expecting the worst. But, except for a bit of tape stuck to one of Bubbles' pigtails, the girls had done a very neat job of wrapping. He looked over their work under the tree and smiled.

"Great job, girls! Really, I mean it!"

"Can we stay up later as a reward for doing such a good job?" Blossom asked the question, but it was clear they all were thinking it.

"No, Girls, bedtime as usual."

Buttercup complained, "But I'm not tired! Mayor hasn't called us in two whole days!"

"Yeah, even Mojo's being good," Bubbles noted.

"So, why cant we, Professor?" Blossom asked again. "If it's this slow..."

"If I let you stay up late tonight, then you'll sleep half the day tomorrow. Then you won't be able to get to sleep at all." He knew they'd have enough trouble sleeping Christmas Eve as it was.

Bubbles whined, "But even Mojo-"

"To bed," Professor said firmly. "As for our monkey friend, maybe he's finally getting into the Christmas spirit for a change."

 

Oh, Professor, if you only knew the truth! The only Christmas spirits Mojo Jojo cares about are the ones our Girls are about to become!

 

FOUR

 

Christmas Eve dawned bright and sunny, and the morning soon became unseasonably warm and humid. It hinted at the fog in the forecast, with the rapid drop in temperature that was coming later. No one seemed to mind, though. The Powerpuff Girls spent the morning downtown outside a department store, ringing the bell in front of one of those familiar red kettles, doing their part to help spread holiday cheer to those less fortunate. Passersby loaded down with bags and boxes called out holiday greetings to them, and they answered back happily in response. The good feeling seemed to be everywhere, and with everybody, in spite of the last-minute running around many of the Townies were doing.

But no one in Townsville was happier than Mojo Jojo. The temporary nice weather was great news to him. The foggier Townsville actually was, the less chance there was of the Powerpuff Girls finding out too soon what he was up to. He rose early, ate a nutritious breakfast, and then checked all of his equipment one more time. By 8 o'clock, he was ready to go...to Townsville.

At 8 A.M. in Townsville, it is also 2 A. M. in Townsville. Townsville, Australia, that is, and it was already Christmas morning in that locale on the other side of the globe. Mojo loved the irony in picking that spot to begin his scheme to destroy the Powerpuffs. The cockpit of his mini-jet had a readout showing that little Santa-tracker sometimes seen on TV. At around three, local time, Santa should be somewhere over Queensland. Mojo's ultrasonic ride would take a half-hour, tops.

 


 

Mojo Jojo put his small craft into 'hover', and he floated just above the far side of Castle Hill, not too distant from the other city of Townsville. The large outcropping of rock, not quite high enough to be called a mountain, was the perfect spot to wait, unseen, for the jolly old elf to show up. He would need a clear shot, so he opened up the hatch over his head and took in the warm, tropical trade winds blowing in off the Great Barrier Reef. He was lucky, because this time of year, early summer, marked the beginning of monsoon season, and it had not yet started. Anywhere else would have done just as well, but he really wanted it to be here.

A tiny beeping on the control panel caught the evil genius's attention. "Ahah! There they are now!"

But when he looked out toward the city, he saw that it was moving far too fast to be a sled drawn by animals. It had to be a commercial jet, what with the red blinking light at the front of...

"Red blinking light!" He jerked his high-powered infra-red telescope out from under his seat. "Is it them? One, two, three...seven, eight...nine! Yes! There are nine pair of antlers and only one red, blinking light!"

Mojo plotted the sleigh's speed and course, then told his computer to plot his own, putting him just off the sleigh's left. Going dark, he eased out of his hover into low cruising speed, and in less than a minute he had Santa right where he wanted him. Out came his special camera...

 


 

Santa Claus couldn't tell what was out there, but something was drawing dangerously close. He sensed it, even though no lights were visible. The reindeer were suddenly hesitating. They knew something was out there, too. Suddenly, Rudolph, leading the team alone in front, stopped for a second, and the old man thought he heard a small cry of pain.

"What is it, boy?" Santa called out. The animal couldn't answer him, of course, only make deer noises that they used to communicate with each other somehow. But whatever it was seemed to be nothing. Rudolph had returned to his normal pace, and whatever that thing was, it had passed by in front and was gone. "Strange...very strange," Santa Claus mumbled, but he had too much work ahead to worry about it.

Even the deer themselves passed it off as nothing.

"Hey, did you hear that?" Dasher, at the front right of the team, called out to his mates. "Rudolph, did you see what that was? It went right in front of you."

"Didn't see a thing, but I heard it, all right. Sounded like a swarm of those nasty marsh flies they get around here. I think a couple of 'em bit me."

"Oh, well," Dancer said. "Santa will have us out of here in no time, and we'll be off to Japan. The flies there are much more respectful. They bow to you before they bite."

The reindeer shared a deer-chuckle. Santa had heard that sound enough times to know that everything was fine.

 

That's what he thinks...laugh now, Rudolph, but you won't be laughing when you see the respect you get from one very disrespectful monkey...

 

FIVE

 

It was six-thirty at night this Christmas Eve in Townsville, USA. Mojo Jojo was right where he wanted to be, nice and relaxed in his chair inside his volcano-top home. He found the steady humming and wheezing of his mechanical fog maker very relaxing indeed. Townsville lay under a blanket of thick, natural fog, and his was slowly spreading skyward, where it would spread undetected, until it was too late. A monitor was to his right; a little light 'blipped' across a map of the world.

Mojo's special 'camera' had done two important things. The 'blip' was the exact location of Santa's sleigh. It was reported from the tiny GPS, or Global Positioning System, chip that was embedded under Rudolph's skin. A second, tiny 'marsh fly bite' fired from the camera was the most important one, though. It would transport Rudolph, when Mojo Jojo pushed the red button telling it to do so, directly to the container sitting on the floor behind the evil genius.

At this moment, Rudolph was doing his job. Santa and the team were leaving continental Europe on their way to the British Isles. They would be approaching foggy London, where it was 2:30 A.M., very soon. In another few minutes, Santa would be stuck without his guiding light. And if he should manage to escape London, he'd run into Mojo's fog before too long, and become hopelessly lost. The Powerpuff Girls' Christmas would be over before it started!

Laughing to himself, Mojo watched that little blinking light until it reached the spot he wanted, then his gloved hand reached out toward the button...

 


 

Rudolph's lit-up nose cut through the dense fog with ease. Guided by Santa's hands on the reins, he and his mates sailed from neighborhood to neighborhood and street to street as their kindly master worked his magic.

The old elf would disappear for the briefest of moments, then be back with his sack emptied. A new, full one would be taken to the next house, and there was an endless supply of them. It was magic. But that magic was about to run out. Santa popped out of a chimney, and the scene was all at once different from the one he'd just left. The sleigh was gone!

"Dasher! Dancer! Rudolph!" Santa called out from the wet roof of a row of flats. Fog settled on his shoulders like a heavy, wet blanket. He couldn't see them. But he heard the soft jangling of the bells on their harnesses. "Rudolph! Why did you turn off your nose?"

But the light didn't come back on, and Santa knew something was wrong. With a pinch of magic dust, he conjured up a pair of infra-red goggles from one of the many sacks on his sled, and slipped them over his red cap. There was the sleigh, right where he'd left it on the roof, but Rudolph wasn't there! The other eight reindeer pawed nervously in place. Santa hurried to the sleigh and saw that the leather harness connecting Rudolph to Dasher and Dancer had snapped clean off.

"Rudolph! Where are you, boy?"

 


 

Rudolph blinked at the sudden, bright light that filled his eyes. The trip had left him momentarily groggy.

"Wha...where am I?"

He looked around him slowly. He was inside a large enclosure...indoors...a place that had a big, rounded dome of a roof. Something was making a funny noise...it sounded like someone breathing heavily. But it wasn't the funny-looking monkey with green skin, a big head, and blue suit, white gloves and purple cape, that stood grinning at him through sharp teeth.

"Oh, no! It's Mojo Jojo! I've been deernapped!"

That much was obvious, from bumping his nose into something hard that didn't appear to be there at all. Rudolph was no dummy. He knew right away what was going on. How, he didn't know, but what, yes. What Mojo wanted with him could mean only one thing, to ruin Christmas. The presence of this villain meant the Powerpuff Girls were nearby, too, but they should be in bed by now and he had no way of letting anyone know he needed help. He was worried about Santa and his friends, and knew they'd be worried about him, or even angry with him. They might think he'd run away on them. But he couldn't just sit here and worry. He lowered his head angrily, took a few steps back, then charged at the monkey. He rammed his antlers into the barrier, hoping it would break. Instead, he found himself sitting on his haunches, dizzy.

"There is no escaping for you, my deer friend! Muahahahaha!"

An invisible door opened up and the evil creature stepped through. Rudolph rose unsteadily to his feet and lowered his head once more. When he was ready, he charged. But the monkey did nothing to get out of his way, just stood there and smiled...and at the last second, pulled a small gun out from under his cape. Rudolph knew it was too late to stop...but it was too late for Mojo, too! Furious, Rudolph braced himself, as he felt the tiny dart from the gun, for the collision that he never did feel.

 


 

Santa could produce enough sets of goggles, like the ones he was wearing, for his reindeer, but they'd never fit on their faces. He needed help. But none was to be found. He snapped shut his cell phone case in disgust. "Where is everybody? Why, you'd think I'd at least be able to reach Big Ben!"

He'd left frantic messages on the answering machines of every superhero he had the number for. On the one belonging to the beefy British bad-guy buster was, 'Hello, this is Father Christmas, and I am in dire need of your assistance! Rudolph has got away somehow and I am at this moment stranded somewhere in London by this dreadful fog!"

Nobody was at home, it seemed. The most likely reason wasn't a sudden rush of Christmas Eve crime. All of the world's superheroes had probably gathered for their own holiday celebration, knowing this was one night they could get away with leaving their towns unprotected for a little while.

"Oh, bother!" Santa said in frustration. "I can't believe not one out of all of those super men is available! Now, Christmas will be ruined for half the world's good little boys and-"

Santa stopped, a crazy thought coming to him. "Girls? The Powerpuff Girls! But, I can't call them, they should be going to sleep, if they aren't already."

The reindeer heard that name. "The Powerpuff Girls!" Comet said to his mates. "They can find their way through this fog!"

"And they can find Rudolph, too!" Blitzen called from the back.

"Yeah," said Prancer, turning to his partner, Vixen. "It's not like him to just run off. Something happened to him."

All of the reindeer started babbling to each other excitedly until Dasher told them, "Be quiet and let Santa think! He can't do that with us all nervous and jerky!"

But the old man knew them better than even old, reliable Dasher understood. Santa sensed their excitement. It was their way of telling him to go for it.

 

Yes, Santa, go for it! Call the Powerpuff Girls! They'll save the day! They'll save Christmas and rescue Rudolph, too! But...will they be able to save...themselves?

 

SIX

 

Professor Utonium pulled the plastic cup out of Buttercup's hands. "No more egg nog, I said! You'll be up half the night running to the bathroom!"

"Aw, gee! I'll be up half the night anyway. I might as well have something to do!"

Blossom yawned and stretched on the couch. "I don't know about anybody else, but all that singing Christmas carols wiped me out. I'm ready for bed."

"I think it's time for bed for all of you," Professor said, looking at the living room clock. "It's almost seven."

"But Professor, I'm not sleepy," Bubbles protested while wiping Christmas cookie crumbs from her dress. "Can't we sing about Round John Bergen just one more time?"

Blossom sighed, "Bubbles, for the last time, it's 'round yon-'"

The hotline interrupted. For once, she hesitated. "Aw, man, not now!"

Bubbles whined pretty much the same thing but Buttercup shouted, "All right! I hope it's an evil monster! Then I'll sleep real good!" She reached for it but Professor got there first.

"Yes, Mayor, what is it? I was just getting the Girls off to-"

They watched him as his eyes narrowed and he gave the phone a dirty look before putting it back to his ear. "Now, you listen here, Him! We're on to your dirty tricks! Pretending to be Santa on Christmas Eve!"

Blossom reached for the phone, whispering, "Wait, Professor, that might be the Gangreen Gang playing a prank!"

He pulled it away from her, not bothering to put his hand over the mouthpiece. "He's claiming to be Santa, that he's stuck in London in terrible fog and Rudolph is missing, and he can't find Big Ben."

"The clock?" Blossom asked.

"No, the superhero." He went back to the phone.

 


 

Santa had to put his memory to work. It was pretty tough; there were millions of kids and many more millions of toys, over more years than his old body wanted to think about...at times.

"Please, Professor, I really am Santa Claus. Do you remember the train set I brought you in 1960?"

"Hmmm...I do remember a train set, but that was 1959. See, I knew you weren't-"

At that moment, the clocks of London struck three.

 


 

"-Santa Claus! Gotcha, Him!" Professor smiled wickedly at the phone, having proven his point. He waited, then put the phone back to his ear, at the same time the living room clock struck six. Funny, but he thought he heard a bonging on the other end, too. Then the voice came back.

"Sorry, Professor, lost you there. Big Ben was making a horrible racket."

He glanced up at the Girls. "Says he couldn't hear me, Big Ben was making too much noise."

"The superhero?" Blossom asked.

"No, the clock." Then Professor's eyes grew huge. It was partly the realization that he had heard the real Big Ben, but also this:

"Anyway, Professor, getting back to what we were discussing...I brought you the train in 1960. 1959 was the chemistry set you hated at the time. That was the year you thought it would be cool to bring your whoopee cushion when you sat on my lap in the store."

 


 

"Wow, I can't believe Santa needs us to save Christmas!" Buttercup repeated for the third time.

Blossom was too busy formulating ideas, once Professor had told them what they were needed for. At the moment, he was down in the lab getting something. Bubbles was the most concerned about poor Rudolph.

"I'm sure Santa is, too, Bubbles," Blossom said. "But getting all the toys delivered comes first. We can help him find Rudolph later."

Mojo Jojo was counting on it.

 


 

Rudolph wondered what was going on. He didn't remember breaking out of Mojo Jojo's trap, but he must have, because now he was flying through the fog once more. He was free again. But the odd thing was, he had no idea where Santa and his reindeer chums were, and even odder, he didn't really care that much. He was content to just float along lazily through the fog...

 


 

Mojo Jojo reveled in his brilliance. Everything was going perfectly! Now, anyway. At first, he realized, a sedated reindeer was of no use to him. That nose wouldn't work, he thought, while its owner was out like a light, pardon the pun. He'd had Rudolph all hooked up to his laser with a sensor that was fitted over the reindeer's nose and absorbed its energy, then fed it to the laser's energy-absorbing power pack. Every indicator gauge indicated nothing happening.

Then he got the brilliant idea to bring Rudolph to a semi-conscious state of stupor, and flood the holding pen with fog. It would simulate conditions for which the creature's nose was seemingly created, and perhaps, stimulate it into action. It worked. As Mojo watched with happiness, Rudolph was laying on his side, in that strange place between sleep and wakefulness, enveloped in a swirling fogginess fed through a pipe from Mojo's adjacent machine. His legs moved back and forth gently as if he was flying; his eyelids fluttered. And his nose gave off its light. Mojo could see the power level gauge on his laser control panel slowly working toward the halfway point, on its way to 'Ready to fire.' When the laser did fire, the reindeer's nose would still be feeding it energy.

"Yes, indeed," Mojo said aloud in his lair of destruction, rubbing his hands together as he watched. "Everything is going perrr-fectly!"

 

SEVEN

 

The City of Townsville...has seen its heroes leaving on another mission...one that may be their last. Oh, my deer Powerpuff Girls!

 

"Boy, do we look stupid!" Buttercup carped.

They were high above the fog, sailing over what was the Atlantic Ocean, if only they could see it. What she was referring to were the things that Professor Utonium had gone to the lab for. On their heads were their bicycle helmets, which he had insisted they wear for safety. But the real reason was that the helmets were perfect for attaching the foam antlers he'd had put away somewhere.

"Look on the bright side, Buttercup," Blossom said. "He was gonna use these things on us sometime. At least now, nobody but Santa will see us."

"I think it's perfect," Bubbles said, not caring. "If we're gonna be reindeer, we should look like them."

"Sheesh," Buttercup muttered. But Bubbles wasn't looking. She was staring backward over her shoulder again, like she'd been doing ever since they'd left the skies high above Townsville's fog.

"Bubbles, cut it out and be ready!" Blossom ordered. "We should be there pretty soon! And besides, we don't even know if he's there, and if he is, it'll have to wait, anyway."

It was an argument they'd already had; one won by Blossom, as usual.

 


 

Realizing that flying above the fog was smart, they took off, straight up, and were shocked by what they saw. A plume of fog seemed to shoot up right through the existing fog, which was no higher than a few hundred feet off the ground, and it had spread in every direction as far as they could see.

"That stuff's coming from Mojo's!" Buttercup shouted. She turned back but was stopped by Blossom grabbing her arm.

"I'm not surprised," the redhead said. "Now, why would he do something like this?"

"To wreck Christmas!" Bubbles shouted. Buttercup, already knowing that, shouted, "Duh!" and tried to escape Blossom, to no avail.

"Yes, but Christmas is already over in some places," Blossom said. "So why now? He's just trying to wreck Christmas for us. He wanted to make sure the fog was bad enough, that's all, and it's working. But his plan won't, if we hurry up and find Santa."

"But, wouldn't he know about Rudolph?" Bubbles argued. "And now he's missing!"

"You think he kidnapped Rudolph?" Buttercup asked incredulously.

Bubbles crossed her arms. "No. He not a kid, stupid, he's a reindeer."

"Oh, brother!"

"Look, Bubbles," Blossom said as they flew farther away from Townsville. She tried to reason with her sister, which wasn't easy when it involved animals. "That's crazy, but let's say you're right. Mojo kidnaps Rudolph-"

"Deernaps!"

"OK, sheesh! He deernaps Rudolph so that he can wreck Christmas for us with his fog, knowing the whole time we can just laser through it anyway when Santa calls us, like he did. That's just dumb."

"Yeah!" Buttercup agreed. "Rudolph just got lost or tired or something and it's a coincidence and we'll find him later."

Outvoted two to one, Bubbles looked back and whimpered, "I know he's there..."

Tired of it, Blossom snapped, "OK, he's there! We go back and rescue him and waste even more time listening to Mojo before we punch his stupid head in and take out his fog machine, and it's daytime and Santa still doesn't have everything delivered. If Rudolph is really there, he'll still be there when we get finished."

Again, Buttercup sided with Blossom. "Yeah, and Mojo ain't going nowhere, and he knows better than to hurt 'im!"

"That settles it," Blossom said with authority. "Now, let's roll!"

 


 

Mojo's fog thinned on the far side of the Atlantic, and the coast of Ireland could be seen in the distance, along with the twinkling lights of the stars above and the ships at sea this Christmas Eve, down below.

"There's Ireland!" Blossom shouted, pointing. "Next stop, London, England. Powerpuff Reindeer, let's roll! As soon as you see the fog, power up lasers!"

Blossom followed the directions Santa had given them, through Professor, and in minutes they were banking toward London proper. Their red beams sliced through the fog like it was hardly there. Blossom ordered a full circle eye-sweep within a half-mile of Big Ben.

"I see them!" Bubbles cried and pointed. Sure enough, there was Santa with his sleigh and reindeer, sitting on the roof of an apartment house.

"Not too fast, Girls, and blink your eyes at them," Blossom said, waving for her sisters to follow her in.

As they neared, Santa spotted them and began to wave, with a soft, "Ho, ho, ho," that soon became a much louder one when they floated before him, their foam antlers bobbing side to side in the light breeze. He roared, and his round tummy shook, just like the famous poem said it did. "Well," he said, when he was able to speak. "I may have lost Rudolph, but I've found three more reindeer to take his place."

"Very funny," Buttercup said with a scowl, then realized who she was saying it to and covered her mouth. "Oops, sorry!"

"It's quite all right, deer. Ho, ho, ho, ha, ha! But seriously, Girls, I can't thank you enough for coming to help me and the boys. We must get straight to work. Enough time's been lost as it is."

"But Santa, can't we look for him?" Bubbles whined, eyeing the eight deer that surely missed Rudolph very much.

"No, Bubbles," the kindly old man said sadly. "Rudolph will have to wait until my work is through, I'm afraid. It's what must be done."

Blossom broke in. "Santa, Bubbles thinks Mojo Jojo kid- er, deernapped Rudolph, and then made a lot of fog so he could destroy Christmas, but I said there wasn't time to go back and see, and-"

"Yes, Blossom, you did the wise thing."

"Hey, Santa!" Buttercup said loudly. "Couldn't you just do your 'see who's naughty and nice' thing and tell?"

Santa scratched his bushy white beard for a moment. "Why, yes, Buttercup. I could!"

Eagerly, the Girls watched his face as he concentrated. "Hmmm...I see a big, round, observatory...and inside...why, that naughty monkey!"

Santa's eyes flashed angry for a second but then began to twinkle once more. "He does have a big fog machine, but it seems he's turned it off and gone to bed. The fog is lifting. I don't see Rudolph, though. Oh, well, he'll turn up. Come, Girls, there's much to be done!"

Relieved, Bubbles especially, the Girls awaited instructions. Santa turned to them as he clambered into his seat. "Oh, and Girls, the folks around here call me Father Christmas, so be careful what you say until we get back to the States."

 


 

Mojo Jojo, at that instant, was not in bed sleeping. He was crowing to himself about his brilliance, while the power level of his laser reached the two-thirds point.

 

Hmmm...I can see Santa not wanting to distract them, but not telling them the truth about Mojo's dastardly plot? Could this red-suited elf really be the evil Him in disguise, waiting to lure our Girls into a trap? He's wearing the right color, anyway...

 

EIGHT

 

Bubbles ran ahead and happily climbed aboard Dasher's back, once Santa told her it wouldn't hurt the animals at all. Buttercup raced to sit on Dancer, on the left.

"I'll ride shotgun, I guess," Blossom said with false resignation. That was where she really wanted to be anyway, on the seat next to Santa Claus. "Can I steer?"

"Of course, my little deer," he chuckled. He reached into a pocket of his suit and produced some magic dust, which he sprinkled on her head, leaving her giggling. Then he flung some the way of the other Girls. Blossom would never remember that she never touched the reins once that night, nor would any of them remember the things they saw, except for what he wanted them to remember. Just in case they cheated while he was inside a house, and their curiosity got them peeking with those x-rays of theirs into what was in his sack.

 


 

Professor Utonium was nervous at first about letting them go, but realized they'd be safer with Santa Claus than anyone on the planet.

"This is working out better than I expected!" he said aloud in the empty house. "Now I can put together what I got for them, without them peeking! And maybe they'll be so worn out that I can get a little extra shuteye tomorrow after they open their presents."

He'd need it. He was going to be up most of the night. "The stupid instructions they put with things these days! You have to be a genius to make sense of them!"

But then he realized glumly, as he looked out the kitchen window into the back yard, that it was too foggy to see what he was doing. The floodlight wouldn't help. He would have to start assembling their new backyard playground set in the hallway between the living room and dining room, then move outside, and hopefully by then, that fog would lift...

 


 

The Girls had lost all sense of time as all the globe-crossing they did was compressed into a few hours. Everything seemed to be happening at normal speed. England and the rest of the Isles were far behind them and now they were starting at the tip of South America, to work their way north. Bubbles realized happily that she knew Spanish, and that Santa was called Papa Noel in many places. But she realized also, telling her sisters with disappointment, that she didn't know how to speak reindeer.

"I don't think Santa does, either," Buttercup said, "or he wouldn't need reins. He could just tell them where to go."

The reindeer laughed amongst themselves at that. With the Girls to guide them, they made their stops perfectly in spite of the fog, and Santa Claus quickly did his work. Before they knew it, they had reached Florida. There, the fog wasn't too bad. Maybe Mojo had turned off his machine, after all!

 


 

It was nearly midnight in Townsville. Mojo had made sure Rudolph was given just enough sedation to keep him dreaming, then cut off the fog to the outdoors. The machine was very quietly making just enough fog to keep that powerful nose going. Then the evil genius settled himself into his chair for a short winter's nap.

Elsewhere, most of Townsville was asleep, except for parents struggling to assemble toys that they had purchased for their children. Professor Utonium was struggling with the swing set.

"All you'll need is a few simple household tools, my foot!"

Holes weren't drilled where they were supposed to be. There were too few nuts and way too many washers. Tab C didn't fit into slot A the nice, easy way it should. He stood up, flexed his stiff knees and sore back, and stood away from his project for a few moments to sip yet another mug of coffee. His work wasn't looking much like a playground set at all. The slide, when it was bolted on, would make the thing begin to look like a metal monster with a long tongue. He looked at the instruction booklet through bleary eyes, and somehow, the way he held it, things took on a whole new perspective.

"Omigosh! No wonder! These are the instructions for the robot kit I bought myself! Now, what did I do with the correct booklet?"

It took him two hours of frantic searching to find it.

 


 

By three A.M. Townsville time, Santa and his eleven reindeer had raced up the east coast of the U.S. and through the maritime provinces of Canada, then covered the rest of the States except the far western ones, and they were now finishing the rest of Canada. Next, it was on to Alaska, where it was nighttime for practically the whole day. That was near to the North Pole, and Blossom wanted to know why they were stopping there then. Wouldn't it make more sense for him to go there last?

"Yes, Blossom, normally, I do. There's still all of the Pacific Islands, where it's much earlier in the night, and that's next. Tonight, Townsville is my last stop. We lost some time, but we should still arrive before the sun comes up."

"Are we your last stop?" Bubbles asked.

"No, Bubbles. Your house is my last stop. I want you asleep before I leave what I have for you."

"Awwww!" they groaned collectively.

"That's why we must hurry!" Santa jerked the reins and the sleigh sped up. "On, Dasher and Dancer! On, Prancer and Vixen! On, Bubbles and Butter!"

Turning to a giggling Blossom, he whispered, "Three syllables don't work when you're a reindeer."

Buttercup didn't care. She was having the time of her life.

"Oh, Girls," Santa said suddenly. "I do have a surprise for you that you won't have to wait to open."

"What? What?!" they all shouted.

"Can't tell you. Wouldn't be a surprise if I did."

 

Ohhh, that Him sure is one good liar! Surprise, indeed! Who woulda thunk the Girls' two worst enemies would join forces on Christmas?!

 

NINE

 

When they got to Townsville, the remaining fog hid the first rays of the sun that were peeking over the horizon. The sun itself wouldn't officially rise until after seven. It was still dark, even though it was almost six.

"Whoa, we made it!" Buttercup breathed. "And just in time. My heinie's getting sore."

"Just Townsville's left," Blossom said. "It was fun seeing the whole world, but it's good to be home."

"I hope Professor hasn't been up all night, worrying 'bout us," said Bubbles.

 


 

Professor Utonium was fast asleep on the floor, snoring away. But at least the swing set was all put together. There were a few extra holes in the metal pipes where there shouldn't be, from his drill, but he could always plug them up.

 


 

The trip through all the familiar places went fast. The Girls had the most fun as they watched Santa come and go at the houses of their friends and people they knew. They waited in the sleigh and wondered what neat toys their friends were getting, and, of course, their minds wandered back to what lay in those sacks for them...and what Santa's special surprise was. At last, their street was done, except for their house, and that was it.

Climbing back into the sleigh and jerking the reins, Santa Claus said, "Just one more stop, and your night is through. I couldn't have done it without you, Girls."

"What one more stop, Santa?" Blossom queried. "I thought our house was the last stop."

"No, there's one other place we haven't been yet," the elf answered. "That's where your surprise is waiting."

"Oh boy!" they yelled. "Let's go!"

Their joy turned to surprise, indeed, when the reindeer landed on the dome of Mojo Jojo's lair.

"Here?" Blossom cried. "Oh, I get it! We're leaving Mojo a whole bunch of coal!"

"And we get to rescue Rudolph now!" Bubbles said happily. "I really wanted to see him!"

"My surprise is getting to kick Mojo's rear!" Buttercup laughed.

"Quietly, Girls, we don't want to wake him up," Santa said as he climbed out of the sleigh. Blossom floated to meet her sisters as they dismounted, Bubbles giving Dasher a fond pat on the head. Santa tossed his sack over his shoulder and they went to Mojo's door. They entered quietly into the darkened residence.

But Mojo was not sleeping. He was waiting for them. On went the light suddenly, startling the Girls. They blinked, covering their eyes, and when they adjusted, they saw their surprise. Mojo sat in his chair, his finger on a button, and a giant laser was pointed right at them. Rudolph wasn't asleep either; he was standing not far away, in an invisible box that held a box-shaped fog, with wires leading from his nose to the laser.

"Merry Christmas, Powerpuff Girls! I hope you have enjoyed it, for it will be your last!

Stunned, Blossom whirled and pointed at Santa Claus, who just stood there with a smile on his face. "You knew the whole time! Professor was right! You are Him!"

She went into command mode instantly. "Buttercup, get Mojo! Bubbles, save Rudolph! I'm going after Him!"

But, over a loud whine that was starting to fill the room, Buttercup shouted, "Forget that, Blossom! We gotta take out that laser!"

They launched themselves at it, but it was too late. The huge, red beam caught them in mid-flight and held them there while they screamed out.

Mojo began to lower the beam toward the floor while they yelled, and he grinned hugely at the old man standing there. "Thank you, Santa Claus, for giving me the best present an evil genius supervillain could want! I have finally destroyed the Powerpuff Girls! Destroying them is what I put at the top of my list, and you have given it to me! Muahahahaha!"

Mojo stopped laughing. "Oh, yes, perhaps you would like some milk and cookies...Huh?"

The Powerpuff Girls had stopped screaming and they lay silent. He turned off the laser and sprang out of his chair. "Yes! It is done! I will be right back with your milk and cookies!" He turned to go get them.

"Can we have some, too, Mojo?"

Mojo froze at the sound of that voice, and he turned slowly. "No! Impossible!"

Bubbles was sitting up and smiling, but not for long. Her sisters were giggling crazily, and then, all three flew at him, knocking him back into his chair.

"Merry Christmas, Mojo!" they cried joyfully.

"Thank you for shooting us with your happy laser!" Blossom giggled.

"Do it again," Buttercup laughed. "It feels great!"

"Currrrses!!!" Mojo threw them off and they landed on the floor in a heap. Bubbles tried to stand up. "Oh, hi, Santa!" she said, collapsing again in a fit of laughter.

"Curses! Curses! Curses!" the primate screamed, standing up and shaking his fists.

Shaking his head, Santa said, "Surely you didn't think Rudolph's good powers could actually harm someone, did you? Then again, I guess you did."

"Who cares?" Buttercup said happily. "That thing is cooool!"

"Yeah!" agreed Blossom, who flew into Mojo's seat before he could move. "Let's see what it does to you, Mojo!"

"No! NO! NOOOOOO!!!!

ZAAAAP!!!

 

Hah! Take that, Mojo Jojo! I knew the whole time you weren't really Him, Santa. No, really, I did! Seriously! Well, I guess I can kiss that Powerpuff stuff I wanted goodbye...

 

TEN

 

Unaware of what he'd done, or any of the night's events, Mojo Jojo was a new monkey. He greeted the Powerpuff Girls with the warmest of Christmas greetings and served them hot cocoa and cookies while they fawned over Rudolph, who was free and none the worse for wear, after a dash of Santa's magic dust. Thanking the Girls once more, the jolly old elf had to be on his way, and he and Rudolph left. Mojo asked the Girls to stay and help him open his Christmas gifts. They happily agreed.

 


 

Santa entered in the usual way. He quickly laid out everything the Girls had asked for this year, as a special surprise for them being good above and beyond the call. As he was about to leave, he heard mumbling, and looking around the corner, saw Professor Utonium sitting up in the dining room, rubbing his stubble-covered jaw. Professor jumped to his feet instantly, everything but his Girls forgotten.

"Santa! Is it really you? My Girls, are they all right?"

"Yes, Professor, they're just fine. I left them at Mojo Jojo's place, where they are enjoying themselves at the moment."

"Mojo's? So, he was behind the fog and maybe Rudolph's disappearing, too? I should have known...I hope the Girls aren't being too hard on him, though. After all, it is Christmas."

"Oh, nothing of the sort, Professor. We stopped by his place to drop off his presents, and I found him to be in a rather good mood. Christmas accomplishes strange and wonderful things, you know. Thank you again for letting me borrow the Girls. They performed beautifully, though I've fixed it so they'll think they had a big, happy dream. Christmas couldn't have been saved without them, or you."

Professor grew a bit bashful. "Well...you deserve most of the credit. You did give me that chemistry set that got the ball rolling."

Santa rubbed his chin and smiled. "So I did, didn't I?"

"Sorry I didn't leave you any goodies this year...I kinda fell asleep."

Santa looked at the large, empty box and tools strewn about. "I can see that. By the way, that's a very nice playground you put together. I'm sure the Girls will love it. But, shouldn't it be outdoors?"

Professor stared dumbly at his night's hard work. "Oh, man!"

"Not to worry, Professor." Santa smiled and produced a pinch of magic dust. With a 'poof', the playground was gone, into the back yard where the morning sun was just coming up on what would be a glorious Christmas day.

The old man raised his red cap a few inches from his bald head, doffing it in a farewell salute. "Now, if you'll excuse me, it's been a loooong day!"

"Thanks, Santa. And Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas to you, sir."

 


 

The Girls sat at Mojo's feet, around his easy chair while his packages sat on a small table next to him. "Open that one first!" Bubbles pointed to the 'soft' looking package. It was wrapped in her favorite shade of blue.

"Why, certainly, Bubbles." He tore off the paper and held up the item.

"Ooooh, undies!" Buttercup giggled.

He slid them behind his back, grinning. "Yes. With bananas. I needed some of those. Now, what's next?"

"That one!" cried Blossom, pointing at a small, square box in red foil.

"This one," Mojo smiled, and opened it "Ah! A Chia pet! Who doesn't want one of these?"

"Open the last one, Mojo!" Buttercup yelled excitedly. The Girls rose to their knees to look. "Ooooh, what is it?"

"I do not know..." Mojo said, bewildered at the sight of the small electrical device in his hands. "Let me read the instructions."

He sat there and devoured the booklet from front to back, uttering things like, "Amazing! Incredible! Genius!" every minute or so. When he was done, he looked up to see the Girls snoring gently, curled up together in a ball at his feet.

"Awww...how sweet! What precious little angels."

 


 

Professor Utonium answered the knock on his door at a little before nine. He opened it to find Mojo standing there, holding his smiling Girls, asleep in his arms. "Merry Christmas, Professor Utonium," the chimp said, without his usual gruffness. "I do believe Santa left something at my residence that was meant for you instead."

Professor happily took them into his arms, where they remained sound asleep. "Thank you, Mojo. Say, would you like to come inside? Maybe spend the day with us?"

"Oh, no, Professor. Thank you, but I have plans! You see, after I noticed the Girls had fallen asleep, I heard a ruckus outside my observatory. I looked down and saw a rough-looking, green-skinned young lad throwing stones into my moat. I wished him a Merry Christmas, and, thinking he looked rather down and out, I offered him a sum of money to go and purchase for me, with a tidy profit for himself, of course, the prize turkey down at the grocery store with the money I had given him, so that he might return with the bird so I could cook it and eat it. Then four of his friends appeared, and said they knew where they could find cranberries and stuffing and all the other things I would need to prepare myself a suitable Christmas repast. I gave them more than a sufficient amount and they left, and very joyfully, I might add! It was then that I recalled that the store is not open today for such purchases to be made, and I suspect that I shall not see my money or my comestibles or those youths again. But what is Christmas for, if not to make others joyful?"

"Yep, Mojo, that's what it's all about. But what about your dinner?"

"Oh, I will make do with something. Do not trouble youself fur-"

"Hey Mojo!" interrupted a voice from the street. Professor looked out past his former 'lab assistant' to see the leader of the Gangreen Gang standing there with his cronies, all loaded down with full paper bags in their arms. "Come on! We got everything here! And we even got change!"

"Yessss! We're hungryssss!" said the one called Snake.

Little Arturo spotted him. "Hola, Professor Utonium! Feliz Navidad to you and the Powerpuff Girls, too!"

"Why, thank you, Boys! The same to all of you."

He saw Mojo wiping away a tear. "It seems that...I have misjudged those boys." Mojo turned back to face him. "Christmas is indeed a beautiful thing, Professor Utonium. I bid you a wonderful day." He bowed politely and turned away from the door, to go cook a big holiday meal. And when that was over and his dinner guests gone, he would amuse himself for hours with Santa's amazing gift, one that would let him turn the lights on and off, simply by clapping his hands.

Professor stood for a moment, watching the cheerful group walk down the street and out of sight. "Yes...it is, isn't it?" He closed the door and smiled in spite of the suspicion that, tomorrow, it would probably all be forgotten. Santa's magic, unfortunately, lasted only so long. But one day was better than none. Perhaps, somewhere inside that twisted genius brain, some of this magic would remain, to show itself in Christmases future. He smiled again when he looked down at his sleeping Girls, and was still smiling when he laid them into their bed.

 

ELEVEN - Epilogue

 

"Hey guys, look out the window!" Buttercup called excitedly to her sisters. "Professor got us a new swing set!" She knew it was from him because of the attached huge bow, and tag that said, "Merry Christmas!" in his handwriting.

"Really?" Blossom said, throwing off the covers. "Hey, wait, you know we aren't supposed to peek!"

"I couldn't help it! It's broad daylight!"

Bubbles rubbed her sleepy eyes and sat up, unaccustomed to the brightness of their room. "Huh? Why isn't it dark? It's always dark when we get up on Christmas!"

Blossom saw the clock, and she flew out of bed. "Omigosh! We slept 'til noon! Christmas is half over already!"

She and Bubbles flew to the window to look. "Whoa! That's a nice one! Professor must have worked all night putting it up!"

"That explains why he hasn't come gotten us yet, " Buttercup muttered. "He's still sleeping, too."

"Let's wake him up!" Bubbles cried. I can't wait to see what we got!"

Blossom agreed, shaking her head. "OK, but try to act surprised when we see the swings. Man, I can't get this strange dream I had out of my head."

Buttercup blinked. "You too, huh?"

"Me three," said Bubbles.

 


 

Professor sat on the couch, basking in the glow of the delight on their faces, and filming the whole experience from start to finish.

"Boy, we really hit the jackpot!" Buttercup crowed when she was through examining her presents. Santa took good care of us this year!"

Bubbles floated up to him. "Thanks for the new playground, Professor," she said, kissing his cheek softly.

"Yeah, thank you, Professor," Blossom said, from behind her pile of stuff in front of her under the tree. "When can we go outside and play on it?"

"Anytime you want, Girls. " He stood up. "But I want you to wear these." He left the room for a minute, and returned holding their bike helmets with foam deer antlers attached to them.

"What?!" they gasped. "Professor, we had this dream where you made us wear those!"

"Really? This I've got to hear!"

 


 

"Now I'm not so sure it was a dream," Blossom said, half to herself while frowning, after they'd told him about their shared dream.

"Well, Girls, this wouldn't be the first time you've all dreamed about the same thing. It makes perfect sense, since you already knew before you went to bed that Mojo tried to mess things up with his fog machine, but he forgot about Rudolph. It was all over the news."

To prove his point, he showed them the morning paper, which confirmed the story. The fog had been traced to Mojo's lair.

"As for everything else..." he nodded at the helmets in their hands. "I guess your vivid imaginations made the rest up. What kid wouldn't want to dream about making Santa's trip with him? I know I did when I was your age."

"I guess you're right, Professor," Blossom sighed. "It just seemed so real."

Getting back to the subject, Buttercup nodded at her helmet and asked, "OK, but why do we have to wear these dumb things?"

Professor picked up the camcorder off the couch and smiled. "Because you're my 'deer' little Girls!"

 

Ohhh, Professor...Ah, what would a Christmas celebration be without at least one bad joke? And so, Christmas Day is saved, thanks to...the Powerpuff Girls! What's that you say? They didn't save it? It was Rudolph? Oh, well...I can dream, can't I?

 

The End

 

Story written November 21-30, 2003

 

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