Nearly four months later............
"I got you now,"Fox made a dive for Fara.
"No you don't,"She leapt to her feet and out of his way.
Fox plopped down in the snow.He sputtered,shaking the cold stuff from his eyes and nose,"Hey come back here!"
Fara darted out onto the ice,trilling laughter in the wind behind her,"Come and get me,if you think you're fast enough Fox McCloud!"
He was only happy to oblige.Shaking the rest of the snow from his coat and jeans,he skated after her.
Fara smiled,and slid her own blades across the ice.The chase was on.
Meanwhile,inside a warm cabin close to the lake,Peppy Hare accepted a cup of hot chocolate from his daughter Reba.
Reba,now nineteen,pushed her one flopped ear out of her eye and smiled.She was a chestnut brown,had luminous brown eyes,and short curly hair.Her cheeks and around her mouth and nose were creamy white,as was the tip of her flopped ear.She wore a burgundy sweater and kaki jeans.She looked much like her mother.....
Peppy thought,smiling.He was proud of her,Reba having taken a career in nursing,and was in her second year of college.
"They're so happy,aren't they daddy?"Reba's voice was drawled in a thick southern accent,like her mother.
They sure are,"Peppy chuckled as he watched Fox miss Fara yet again,and slide across the ice into a snowdrift,"And thanks for letting the team stay at the cabin."
"I was only happy too,this old place hasn't seen anyone since last winter,me staying at a college dorm and all,"Reba hugged her father,"And I'm glad to know you guys take a break every once in a while.Besides,I like the company."
Peppy pushed one of daughter's curls from her face,and turned his attention back outside.
Fara laughed and pulled a beautiful spin,before skating away again out of Fox's reach.But she suddenly slipped,and Fox grabbed her up in his arms in an instant.
I've got you now!"
"Put me down Fox!You're not being fair!"Fara cried with delight.
Fox carried her to the bank,and set her down on the snow.He flopped beside her,trying to catch his breath,making puffs in the air.
Fara sat up,looked down on him,"I guess you did catch me fair and square."
"Yeah.....so what's my reward?"He smiled slyly.
"I'll show you,"She kissed him passionately.
After months of struggling to get an upper-hand over Andross,the war seemed to have come to a total deadlock.There was no stikes from either side.General Pepper,although wary,allowed his troops and officers to take leave for the holiday.Even though there was a hanging tension in the air,mostly everyone was taking advantage of the leave for some time to relax abd be with family.
Back inside Peppy whistled softly,causing his daughter to laugh.He laughed too.
"I can't believe it's Christmas already!"Reba breathed in the smell of the cabin.It's warmth,and the aroma of cinnamon and peppermint,folded her in a warm,comforting blanket.She cast a glance at the christmas tree in the corner of the room,and the gifts piled under it.It brought back memories of the past holidays spent in this wonderful place.
Peppy knew what she was thinking,remembering himself.His thoughts were interrupted as the door opened,and Falco and Katt stepped in.
"Brrrrrrr!It's cold out there!"Katt pulled off her coat and mittons.
"You can say that again,"Falco did the same,"Hey Reba,got any hot chocolate?"
"Shooh' do Falco,help yourself,"She laughed,"But first,did you bring what I sent you for?"
"Yeah yeah,here,"Falco handed her a package wrapped in brown paper,"Took Katt and me an hour to find that stuff,hope there's enough."
"Thanks Falco,"Reba sat down beside her father,and carefuly tore the paper open.A perfect bunch of mistletoe clippings were exposed.
"Oh Falco,Katt,this is perfect!"Reba grabbed a roll of string and scissors.
Katt sat her mug of chocolate down,and grabbed a tiny clipping.She held it up over Falco's head,"Kiss me hon'."
Falco smiled,and was happy to oblige.He dipped her,causing her to laugh,and pulled her back up.
"Magic's in the air,"Reba whispered to herself,tying a clump of mistletoe in the doorway of the living room.The rest she carefully put in a basket and set it in the middle of the coffee-table.
"Hey Peppy,where's Fox and Fara anyway?"Falco,asked the veteran hare.
"They're skating on the lake out back,"Peppy pointed a thumb at the window,
Falco looked outside,"Well look at this,they're really smooching."
"They still are?"Reba came to the window,"They were nearly ten minutes ago!"
"Skating looks like fun Falco,come'on!"Katt grabbed his wing with a paw,"And let's break up that serious make-out session."
Both of them grabbed their skates,coats,and mittons,and were out the door.
"Fox won't like this interruption very much,"Peppy chuckled,watching Katt and Falco emerge on the ice.Fox and Fara looked up,shouted something about spying,and a snow-ball fight started.Peppy couldn't help but laugh as he watched them,before they all headed back into the cabin.
"You guys are really nosy!"Fox joked as he came in,giving Falco a playful shove.
"Hey,skating never harmed anyone,"Falco shrugged,before snickering and flopping on the couch,pulling Katt down beside him.
"Ahem,"Peppy startled Fox and Fara as they started to pass through the living room doorway.They followed where he was pointing and saw the mistletoe.
"Say,isn't that mistletoe?"Fox looked back at Fara.
"MMm-hhmm!"She kissed him again.
"Okay okay!Break it up you two!"Falco covered his eyes,joking.
Fox and Fara sat down in the large recliner chair.Fara giggled as Fox pulled her down on to his lap,and rested her head against his chest as they snuggled together.
Falco rolled his eyes,before Katt grabbed a quilt and wrapped them up in it.she rested her on his shoulder.
"Where are the others anyways?"She aked,content.
"Jenna should be here anytime.Bill is picking up something from the jewelry shop,and everyone here knows what that is,"Fox gave a mysterious smile.
"That is one swell ring he picked out for her,I wonder if she'll accept?"Falco was starting to doze off.
"She's really loves him,she'll say yes,"Fox continued,"Anyways,Slip is with Kim and Lily at her parent's house.They should be here any moment also."
"Someone mention our names?"Slippy suddenly came in.Kim let Lily down,she instantly clammored onto Peppy's lap.
"Hey hey hey,better look up you two!"Falco pointed to the mistletoe.
They saw it,and Slip gave Kim a soft kiss.Everyone gave a shout of applause.
Slip and Kim took the other side of the couch.Slippy cast a glance at the christmas tree,and took a deep breath,"This place smells wonderful,and the tree looks great you guys."
"Thanks Slip,"Reba handed them both some chocolate,"Took us long enough to find one."
"So,before we can open that mound of gifts under that tree,we have to wait for Jenna,and Bill,"Peppy laughed as Lily gently tugged on one of his long ears playfully.
There was a rush of wind as the door opened.Jenna came in,pulling off her coat,"Hi guys,it's nasty out there!"
"Hey gal,how ya doing?Reba gave her friend a hug.
"Boy,the base is packed with people wanting to leave for the holiday,took me nearly half an hour just to leave."
"Sounded hectic,like some hot chocolate?"
"That sounds great Reba,I'll take it in a minute,"The brown husky pulled her back pack from her shoulders,and opened it.She placed her gifts to the team among the others around the tree,"I'm gonna go change,I'll be right back for that chocolate."
She headed for the bathroom,and soon returned in a dark green sweater and kakis.Her long,light brown hair fell about her shoulders in loose curls,partly pulled back in a wooden clip.She accepted the mug of chocolate from Reba,"Where's Billy?"
"I don't know,"Fox told a white-lie,"He should be coming."
He looked at Falco,who gave him and unnoticed wink,as did Slip and the others.
Jenna never noticed,"That's a little odd,Bill's never late."
"Of course I'm not!"Bill suddenly stepped up behind her,hugging her from behind.
"Where have you been?"She laughed,rubbing some snow from his fur and ears.
"Traffic,"Bill murmured bluntly,reaching into his pant pocket to feel the ring inside it's velvet case,savoring the little lie he had told and what was about to happen.
"Hey,check above you before you sit down?"Fox pointed upward.
They both looked up,then at each other smiling.Bill kissed Jenna fully,getting a coulpe of whistles from Falco and Slip,before sitting down together in the other recliner chair.
Bill slid his gifts under the tree,"Okay,so are we finaly ready to start?"
"Now that you're here.Who want's to pass the presents out?"Fox looked over his teammates,"Any volunteers?"
Falco and Slippy shot their wing and hand up.
"Okay you two,pick a number between one and ten."
"It was seven,Slip gets it!"
Slippy got out of his chair and reached for the first gift,pausing just long enough for Reba to turn on her camcorder,"Hmmmm,Katt,this is from Falco to you."
He handed it to her,"This one is for Fox from Peppy.Let's see....Kim,from me.This big one is to Lily from all of us.Uh....oh,here Bill,the one is from Fox and the other is from Jenna.Reba,from your dad.Peppy you've got one from Falco.We've got one from Katt to Falco."
Slippy sorted out the gifts until they were gone to their recievers,"Okay everyone,that's all of them,start opening!"
Everyone started opening.
"Hey thanks Slip,these are awesome!"Falco put on a pair of really cool shades.
Slippy laughed,"Hey,you look cool man!"
"Take a look at this,"Bill pulled out a brown leather jacket.Embrodiered on the back was the symbol of his Husky Squadron,"Jenna,thank you.This is really nice."
She smiled,and got a kiss.
Katt opned the long,little box from Falco,and gasped when she saw the amythyst necklace inside,"Oh Falco,it's beautiful."
"I know you like purple,that caught my eye and I thought you would like it,"He smiled as he tilted her chin up to give her a kiss,and put the necklace about her neck.
"Oh daddy,"Reba fondled the stethoscope and white nursing jacket,before wrapping her father in a hug,"Thank you so much!"
"You'll be a great nurse one day,if not a doctor,I'm so proud of you!"
Lily hugged the giant teddy bear from everyone,and held the StarFox dog tags Slippy had got for her.She made sure everyone got a hug from her.
"Gosh Bill,thanks,"Fox tried on the new com-link from his friend.
"Your's was starting to wear out,I thought you could use it,"Bill laughed as Fox rubbed a finger over his team's logo personalized on the side,as well as his own name.
After all the presents were opened,Bill climbed to his feet,as did Fox.
"Okay,everybody knows that us two haven't given our girlfriends their Christmas presents yet....."
Everyone except Jenna and Fara had expected Bill to stand up,but Fox?
"What's going on?"Kimmy made sure the diamond necklace Slippy had got her was on well.
"Bill's gonna propose,I don't know about Fox,what's he up to?"Slippy clamped a hand over his mouth when he realized.
Everyone else did too.There was going to be two proposals,not one.
"Billy?"Jenna asked confused as he clasped her paws in his own.
Bill put a finger to her lips,"Ssshhhh,I don't know if I have the guts to ask you......if I can say what I'm about to say."
He got down on one knee,and reached into his pocket for the case.Jenna gasped as he opened it,revealing a diamond ring,"Jenna Anne Darrenger,will you marry me?"
The room was silent.Jenna looked at her fellow teammates,then at Billy.A large tear fell down her cheek as she fell to her knees and wrapped her arms about his neck,"Yes!YES!!!OF course I will!"
Everybody cheered as Bill let out a whoop and lifted her off her feet,spinning around.When he stopped he slipped the ring on her finger.
More whistles and cheers called out.
"Hey now,wait a minute!We've got one more proposal here!"Bill turned to Fox.
Fox gave a nervous smile,and turned to Fara.
Fara covered her mouth with her paws,he gently reached out and caught them in one of his own paws,and got down on one knee.He pulled a little case from his own pocket,and opened it to reveal another engagement ring,"It's my turn now."
Falco let out a stream of piercing whistles,Slippy laughed and clapped his hands,it got quiet again.
Fox pulled the ring from the case,the little velvet box fell to the floor,"Fara,will you marry me?"
Fara brushed tears from her own cheeks,this was her dream come true,"She laughed,"YYYEESSSSSS!!!!"
The room erupted with applause as Fox placed the ring on Fara's finger,sweeped her off her feet,and kissed her fully.As he sat her down,he brushed her tears away from her cheeks,and laughed joyfully as they wrapped each other in a hug
Sorry,no wedding in the next chapter,who would like their to be
me and let me know