Charting the Progress of St. Nicholas

Not one hour had passed back in the real world. It was as if time had stopped there, and time had no meaning in the virtual realm. Whatever had happened, time paradox or not, the Warriors had gone back to bed, while Jeramie tried tracking Santa's movements with his GPS that he had sneaked in along with his clothing.

Jim, who had been making the night watch with Suzanne, had put out chocolate milk and Suzanne's freshly baked cookies for Santa when he came. He could hear Jeramie's device and came into check on him.

"Why are you up so late, Jeramie ? Shouldn't you be sleeping ?", Jim asked.

"I'm trying to track Saint Nicholas. I was hoping my GPS could give me a hint as to his actual location at this hour.", Jeramie said, adjusting his glasses.

"GPS won't be able to pick him up. You see, Nick is beyond our conventional gadgets. No matter what you try to do, nothing can find him. He is magical after all.", Jim said, with a large smile. Jeramie yawned.

"Go to sleep, now…Tomorrow is a big day.", Jim said, gently as he tousled the young blonde's hair and kissed his forehead. Jeramie turned off the device, laid it on his nightstand and sighed peacefully as Jim tucked him in and left the room.

Nick was sobbing softly in his sleep. Jim heard the young man crying and wondered what the trouble was. Suzanne was already back in bed after having checked on everyone else, so Jim was the last person awake to make the final rounds on the night watch.

"What seems to be the trouble ? Why can't you sleep, Nick ?", Jim questioned, lending Nick his handkerchief to dry his eyes, he sniffled a bit.

"I'm still a bit bummed out over my lizard Steve. I know this sounds sort of silly, but he loved Christmas. It was his favorite time of the year, and this year, well…", Nick said, trying not to well up again.

"Don't worry, Nick. I'm sure that he is enjoying the holidays wherever he is. I wouldn't doubt he is in heaven celebrating. And, I wouldn't be surprised if you had a new friend waiting for you when you come home.", Jim said, patting the young boy on the back. Thinking about that lessened his sadness and he actually felt true hope for once. The only reason Jim knew about the new Steve, or Steve II as he would be called, was because he had heard Herve's covert conversation over the phone only minutes earlier in the hall while everyone was getting ready to sleep for the night.

"Thank you, Jim. Oh, and merry Christmas.", Nick said after hugging his mentor goodnight and turning around to snuggle under the covers. Soon after Jim closed the door, Nick was already snoring lightly and lost in his own little sugar-plum fantasy.

Written by Angie Y. and FlowerofAdversity