Title: "Merry Early Christmas"

Author: carpesomediem


Fandom: Popular

Pairing: Brooke/Sam

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1206

Author's Notes: Ryan Murphy, the WB and Touchstone all own the rights; I merely borrow for femslash purposes.  No spoilers in this one, kind of mild compared to my normal angsty/crazy Brooke/Sam stories.  It was good fun though.

Summary: It was a week until Christmas, and all through the Palace, not a creature was stirring, except for Brooke and Sam, still decorating.

"Brooke!" Sam nearly shouted as she came down the staircase.  "This is way too much garland."

"There's no such thing as too much garland," Brooke responded dryly.  "Besides, I'm only trying to liven up the place a bit.  It's so… drab with your Christmas tree being so-"

"-Real," Sam interjected, "It's the only real decoration in the house!"

"Hey!" Brooke caught an ornament Sam tossed her way.  It was just a simple red ball, nothing too glitzy or glamorous.  "What's this?"

"It goes on the tree," Sam pointed, carrying a few more bulbs towards the Douglas Fir she'd helped her mom pick out a few days ago.  "They all do."  Despite Brooke's preference for a fake tree, she was astounded by all the work Sam did to procure the tree.  She knew that Jane had driven her two and a half hours out of Los Angeles just to cut down the tree at a special farm.  Brooke admired the brunette's dedication to finding the right tree, of course, she'd never admit it.

"But they're so boring," Brooke whined, clearly distraught that Mike wouldn't even let her bring out the more decorative ornaments she usually hung on the tree.  The box was still buried in the corner of the basement reserved for the McQueen household holiday decorations.  They were organized by season, holiday and week in December.  If anything, Brooke was dedicated to the winter season.

"They're tasteful, Brooke," Sam countered, "You don't need a Christmas tree like the one they light up in Rockefeller Center.  You just need something simple, something real."

"I like my fake tree, thank-you very much.  It doesn't die, you don't have to water it, and you don't step on any of those stupid needles."  Sam just shook her head, knowing deep down inside Brooke loved the holiday season just as much as her, even though they both had two very different ideas of how it should be celebrated.  Things were easier this year; they knew somewhat what to expect of one another, especially now that they were living under the same roof.

"I'd rather step on needles any day of the week than be without the smell of a fresh tree wafting through the house," Sam smiled brightly.

This was the second Christmas the McQueens and McPhersons spent together at the Palace.  During the first one, World War III erupted over everything from the tree to the garland to the respective parties Brooke and Sam threw every year for their friends.  This year, however, Mike and Jane laid down the law: Any fighting between the two over the joyous holiday season, and Christmas would be cancelled.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Mike came up with the idea, and Jane thought it was brilliant.  Of course, Brooke and Sam were opposed to it, for the sheer fact that it undermined their very ideas of Christmas.  Brooke always wanted Christmas to brighten the house in such a way that even the cosmonauts on the International Space Station would be able to pick out the Palace from the more boring homes in Santa Monica.  Sam, on the other hand, believed the holidays were all about family and sharing a quiet Christmas in the home with one another than trying to outdo the Macy's Day Parade.  Last year, tensions were at an all time high, and so far this holiday season, the two girls seemed content with the compromise.

Brooke was allowed to decorate the inside of the house, with the exception of the Christmas tree itself.  Sam worked on the tree, as well as the outside decorations.  For the most part, this kept them away from one another while decorating and gave their parents the time to plan Christmas dinner and hideaway presents.

"Can't we do… something to spice up the tree a little bit?" Brooke asked meekly, afraid Sam might chuck another bulb at her.

"No… we can't," Sam replied, "I'm almost done with it anyway."

"But, it's so boring," Brooke sighed heavily, crossing her arms and appraising the work the brunette had accomplished throughout the day.

The Christmas tree was relatively bare.  It was covered with simple white lights, the same type Sam had managed to hang up around the outside of the house, with a sparse bit of red garland.  There were bulbs hanging here and there, but it wasn't the bling bling type of Christmas tree Brooke normally decorated.

"From you, I'll just pretend that's a compliment," Sam joked, tossing a single bulb into the air before catching it in her other hand.  She shrugged, taking a look at the star on the top.  She was more than happy with her work on it, and if Brooke didn't like it, it didn't matter.  It was her Christmas tree this year, and for once, it felt like she was actually a part of something around the Palace.

"I think it looks wonderful, Sam," Mike chimed in, "Jane, come take a look at this."

"What is it, Mike?" she asked, joining him in the kitchen doorway and taking a look at the tree.  "Oh, wow, Sam.  It really does look beautiful!"

"Thanks, mom," Sam smirked at Brooke, who stuck her tongue out and went back to spreading garland through the staircase.  "What do you think of Brooke's garland?"

"I'm not done, yet," Brooke quickly threw out there.  All throughout the living room, foyer and staircase, silver and gold garland was draped and wrapped making the place look like the inside of one big giant present.  Not even department stores used this much garland to advertise specials.  Even though Sam thought it was the tackiest thing she'd seen since Nicole's homecoming dress, she wasn't about to ruin the moment for Brooke.

"It looks great, sweetheart," Mike said first.

"It definitely brightens the house up," Jane nodded, smiling.  It was nice to see the two of them cooperating once instead of bickering over how everything came together.  While it wasn't the most color-coordinated Christmas, it certainly was a peaceful one, and that's just what the McQueens and McPhersons were looking for this time of year.

"Thanks, Sam," Brooke whispered when their parents retreated into the kitchen.  "You didn’t have to do that."

"I know," Sam smiled, "But I wanted to.  I may not like it, but you still manage to make the place look all right."  Brooke laughed at Sam's backwards compliment, but she couldn't help but wonder just what was happening between the two of them.  Sam was thinking the same thing when she happened to glance up and realize they both were standing beneath some mistletoe.  "Does that mean what I think it means?"

She pointed up.  Brooke looked up and raised an eyebrow.  Before Sam had a chance to make another smart remark, the blonde leaned down and planted a soft kiss on Sam's lips.  She pulled away quickly enough to smile anxiously at a stunned Sam.

"Merry early Christmas," Brooke said.

"Merry early Christmas," Sam nodded, smiling, too.

It was roughly a week to Christmas, and both girls were just about finished decorating without having lost too much blood over the details.  It was shaping up to be an interesting, surprising and very Merry Christmas at the Palace.


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