Sorting Santa's Letters


colette_icon.gif doyle_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif robin_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Thank you to Viviane and Ygraine for letters.

Scene Title Sorting Santa's Letter
Synopsis The Ferrymen sit down to sort through children's letters. Some are sad, some are happy, but all of them touch the heart. (A Ferrymen Christmas)
Date December 14, 2009

Brick House

This spacious two-story building rises up off of the coast of Long Island City. Surrounded by a high chain-link and razorwire fence, it looks like it has been abanded for decades. Windows are bricked up, doors are boarded shut, and the grounds are unkempt and overgrown. Access to the building seem impossible, unless one was to pry off the boarding or simply smash through one of the walls. However, to the Ferrymen this structure is simply an extremely secure safehouse.

True access to the safehouse called the Brick House is made via an abandoned lot on the edge of the East River beyond the actual building. Here, an overgrown cellar hole from a factory that was demolished decades ago gives way to a concrete stairwell and a heavy iron door. This entrance is staffed by a Ferryman operative at all times, and accesses an underground tunnel leading to the basement that once connected the factory to the building that has become the Brick House.

The basement levels are cold and damp concrete shelters with freeze-dried food storages and a small armory of illegal firearms used in the defense of the safehouse. The upstairs floors are poorly furnished rooms with peeling wallpaper and paint, old dusty wood floorboards and seem to be in a constant stare of repair and renovation.

With only two windows on the second floor — facing the river — not bricked up, the building has a somewhat stale smell to it, and is lit only by artificial lighting of lamps and on occasion candles and lanterns.

Crickets and other such bugs chirp and chirr loudly in the overgrown brush surrounding the old Terra Cotta Company building. Much like the area surrounding it, the structure seems silent and dead. The two story brick place, has been boarded up for years even before Midtown's explosion. The Queensboro Bridge looms in the dark just beyond the rooftop, it's steel structure is ghostly pale against the inky blackness of the sky.

At first look, one wouldn't believe that the old run down business was actually a place someone called home, but this was the location of one of the Ferrymen's safehouses. The boarded and bricked up windows let out no light in or out, keeping the fact that it's occupied a secret.

Arriving at the safehouse, people have to sneak around to the back side of the building, into an adjacent lot, thickly overgrown and piled with rubble. Once through the hatch their escorted through tunnels, past a metal door and then up a few flights of stairs into the buildings interior. Where they are finally led what looks like an old dining room. The walls are covered in old floral wallpaper that has pealing off in sections and yellowed with age. Large sections of paint is pealing from the ceiling and hangs in some places.

For tonight the old rickety table that the residents use has been taken over by a sloppy pile of letters, some in envelopes and some just folded. Yellow pads of legal paper sits in front of chairs with cheap ball point pens laying across them. A small floor heater sits in a corner, clicking and whirring softly, working hard to provide some heat to make it much more comfortable for those occupying it.

Kaylee's been here for a time, waiting for others to join her. Her jacket rests on the back of the chair she is occupying. In a warm turtle neck knit sweater and a pair of paint spattered jeans, her blonde hair is pulled back into a loose pony tail leaving locks of hair framing her face. Her eyes are thoughtful as her elbows are resting on the table, and a mug of coffee help in both hands, warming them.

Colette's been here a while too, even if she hasn't really revealed that yet. It's hard to imagine she snuck in after Kaylee got here, so it's possible the teen was here all along, just on the edge of perception. When colors start to appear at the table, strips of air peeling away to reveal the dark fabric of denim, the brick red of sweater wool, and the dark black of leather boots, Colette comes fading into view from invisibility at the very table Kaylee's at, feet propped up and hands folded in her lap. She looks for all her worth to be a bit crestfallen, head hung and brows furrowed, teeth toying with her lower lip.

"Hey…" Colette murmurs as if her abrupt appearance isn't at all unusual, green eyes alighting to regard Kaylee thorugh the ragged fringe of her bangs and the dark cage of lashes. The smile that creeps up the teen's face isn't entirely honest, but at least it's an attempt at it.

"No. No, no— no way, you can't, you can't possibly be serious about this, blondie!"

Doyle barges in from a side room, shaking a white-trimmed hat with a long red tassel topped with a white poofy ball at the end in one hand, stomping up to where Kaylee's seated and glaring at her as he shakes the piece of raiment at her. He's half-grinning in that way that people do when they're hoping someone is planning a joke on them, both brows upraised, "This is a, uh, a joke, right? Right?"

Ah, Robin. Peyton really needs to meet his twin brother. He helped her through the rubble and shrubbery and then up the stairs, setting her down and then leaning her back on her crutches. Her newest accessory is not Prada or Gucci but a hot pink cast on one foot, along with two shiny silver crutches. "Thanks, Robin," she says with a smile, hobbling in and glancing at Doyle. Her eyes widen a little and she backs up, turning to look for other familiar faces. "H-hey," she says tentatively to the young women, before glancing back at Doyle with fearful eyes.

Robin is probably a little late to the meeting, but he's totally ready to blame Peyton for that. Not really. He helps her sit and adjust her crutches then says, "You're quite welcome, Peyton. Remind me and I'll help you on the way out too." He waves to the mostly familiar faces as he shrugs off his coat, and eyes Kaylee's coffee. "Mmm coffee, There's more of that, right?"

"Hey, Girlie." Is offered in return, a smile tugging at the corners of Kaylee's lips, but doesn't quite get there. Brows dip down a bit. "How long you been sitting there?" She can't seem to be able to decide whether to be hurt that she was hidden or amused. Of course, anything else she might have said to the teen is stopped by the rather unhappy puppeteer. She gives Colette an amused wink, before setting down her coffee and turning to look at the unhappy man.

"Have you known me to joke about things like this before…" She trails off and holds up her hands and adds. "Don't answer that." She offers him a smile and an innocent look, "No, it's not a joke. Your great with the kids." And perfectly proportioned for the part, but that stays unspoken. "Makes you perfect for the part! It's not like they are gonna sit on your lap or anything.. you just gotta hand out the gifts." She makes it sound like it's not big deal.

The arrival of Peyton and Robin, saves her for a moment as she flashes them a bright smile. "Hey guys, come on in.. there is coffee in the other room." She point in the direction of the room that long ago was a functioning kitchen. "Go ahead and get you some, then come take a pile and get started."

"I uh— " Colette glances over to Kaylee with an awkward smile. "I've been here since last night…" She offers with a lopsided smile, eyes cast side-long to the blonde before she's jerking her thumb over her shoulder in response to Robin, aiming at the coffee pot on one of the counters. Green eyes drift to Robin afterwards, and a small smile is afforded to him in greeting. "It turned off a little while ago, you— might need to turn it back on and warm it again. I think the microwave's still busted." Green eyes drift towards the microwave nearby with duct-tape keeping the door closed. "Yeah I wouldn't use that." Swinging her boots off of the table, she finally notices Peyton behind Doyle, quirking a brow at the familiar face.

"Woah— hey there Pey." Managing an awkward smile, Colette offers a small hand up in greeting, then shifts her focus between Peyton and Eric, noticing woman's anxious reaction to him. Trying to calm the waters, the brunette stands up and waves cheerily to him. "Hey there, Eric." Something seems to be nagging at the teen, likely something to do with Joseph's disappearance that has still gone unsolved. She hasn't touched the letters yet.

"Yeah, but… I mean…" Eric's gaze sweeps to the Santa hat in his hand, then back to Kaylee, his expression incredulous as he brings up his other hand to touch his chest, "…me? Santa?" That half-smile crooks to his lips again, perhaps either warming to the idea or just giving in, and then he lets out a heavy sigh, the hand and hat both falling to his side. "Well, if everything goes badly, it's your fault."

Oh, hey, other people. "Uh." A hesitant smile, fingers wriggling a bit, "Hi."

"Hi, Colette. You okay?" Peyton says, frowning a little at the girl's obviously sad and worried mood. Her dark eyes flit back to Doyle, obviously discomfited by his presence, but where's she going to go? It's not like she can get a cab out here just by stepping outside and throwing a hand up. "Grab me some too," she adds to Robin, then turns to Colette. "You guys need a microwave here?" she asks. "I can give you the money for one." Money's easy. Everything else isn't.

Eyeing the microwave, Robin decides that Colette is right and not using it is a smart idea. He pours two cups of coffee, handing one to Peyton before starting a fresh pot. He works in a coffeehouse; it's habit by now. Once he finds a seat, he pulls a pile of letters and notes towards him as well as a pad and pen, but doesn't start opening anything yet. Instead Robin gives Santa-Doyle a little salute, "Hi, I'm Robin."

"Yes.. you as Santa. "Kaylee reaches out to snatch the hat from his hand and stands long enough to try and tuck it on his head with a grin. "Eric.. my friend.. you will do fine and yes…. if it goes badly, I will do your chores for a month as punishment." Brows lift a bit, her head turning slight as if to say well, she holds out a hand to him, "Deal?" A thought occurs to her and she points a finger at him, "And no making problems on purpose just to get me to do your chores." She teases narrows eyes at him with a small grin.

A glance goes back to Colette, almost like something is bothering the blonde telepath as well. "Go ahead and fill her in Colette." She offers softly. "Might as well get it out there." Her eyes shifting over to Robin.

The sound of clunking footsteps comes down the stairs from the second floor, accompanied by the tone of a voice that carries a fading British accent. "We're actually short of quite a bit of things 'round here these days. Pretty much everything now tha' I think about it." Rounding the corner from the stairwell, a man in a hooded gray sweatshirt steps slowly into the room. Dark eyes sweep around the guests of the safehouse, down to the letters on the table, then up towards Eric Doyle with a skewed expression of uncertainty. "'Ey…" the man says with a bob of his head, stepping around Eric's large frame to move to the side of Kaylee's chair.

"I'm 'eaded out down t'Tuck's place for a little Ar an' Ar, doll. 'Old down the fort for me while I'm gone, yeah?" A hand pats down on her shoulder, the the very casual demeanor of Andy Rourke — operator of the Brick House — seems to carry with it the nonchalant swagger of a man half his age. Looking to Robin, Andy considers the man the way someone watching a man about to drink a cup full of urine may; with horror and rubber-necked intrigue. He eyes the cups pulled from the coffee pot, both dark brows raised, leaning up on his toes to get a better look at them both before settling down on his feet.

"Nah, a'can't let you two drink tha'. Go on an dump those cups inn'a sink an' make a fresh pot. I've been warmin' that pot'a coffee since last night. S'probably a bit like usin' cat litter as a filter b'now." Cracking a smile, Andy glances over to Peyton, then to Colette, then rolls his hsoulders in a shrug.

While Andy's making the rounds and playing casual as he scans who's been invited inside, Colette is offering a nervous look to Peyton. "I— I guess you didn't hear?" The teen asks anxiously. "One've our own got kidnapped, we— we think." She thinks. "Joseph— ah, Sumpter. He's been staying with Robin at Grand Central and— and he's been missing for five or six days now. We— nobody knows where he is and— " Colette curls her fingers into fists at her side, then exhales a frustrated sigh, raking fingers thorugh her hair."Sorry, I'm just— hitting a bunch of brick walls. Someone with the ability to find people is— also missing… so… so…"

So she's a bit stressed.

"I don't have any chores," Doyle observes in dry tones, even as the hat's placed forcibly upon his head, "And if I do, I can just make you do them anyway." The last is said conspiratorially as he leans in, though it's clearly audible, a wry twist of his voice suggesting some sort of joke there. He always did have an odd sense of humor, though.

A lean back, then, and he turns to offer to Robin - and Peyton, who he doesn't recognize - "Uh, I'm Eric. Or Santa Claus, apparently." Then Colette's words sink in, and he looks over, his brow furrowing in consternation, "Someone got kidnapped?"

"Someone else got kidnapped?" the outsider says, face paling visibly and eyes filling with tears. "Mack… uh, friend of mine and Cardinal's, he got … we got attacked, and they took him, the other night." She wipes her eyes with trembling fingers. "I don't know Joseph, I don't think, I never saw him or I'd try to find him. Have I met the other person?" she asks Colette, though it's obvious they don't want to say the other clairvoyant's name. "I'll help if I can but I need to have met them, or at least seen them, or seen them from someone else's eyes, anyway, it's kinda the same thing, I guess." She rambles, a little, then chews her lower lip. She glances at Doyle and nods, still obviously uncertain of him, and not about to offer her hand for shaking.

Taking a sniff of the coffee, Robin oh so casually takes Peyton's cup as well as his own and dumps them in the sink. He nods to Rourke, part agreement and part greeting. "Yeah, I think we'll wait on the coffee." Robin's mouth moves in a grim sort of quirk as talk turns to Joseph. "I've got everyone I know looking for him; so far nothing." Toying with a random letter he asks Peyton, "You saw them take your friend?"

"I can do that for ya, Andy." The telepath gives the man a smile, "Thanks again for letting us invade your space. Give Tuck my best when you see him." Amusement colors her tone, since Tuck and the young woman are probably still on shaky ground, despite the card counters and cheaters she's found. The comment on the coffee makes her look at her own cup, she picks it up and eyes the contents. "Hey!" She peers at the man, "You told me it was fine." She gives a little huff at the operator, before glancing back at Doyle.

"Yeah.. I know you could. Fine.. we'll work out the details of punishment later." Kaylee comments back softly, eyeing him, before turning back to the conversation at hand, dropping into her seat. "You were at the trial.. Joseph was the one pushing to hand him over to the authorities." She smiles a bit at Peyton, though the news of her friend make it fade quickly. A glance goes to Colette. "Think it's related?"

Eyeing the tone of the conversation, Andy's lips downturn into a frown, eyes uplift to the ceiling and he tucks his hands into the pouch of his sweatshirt. "Everyone try no'ta get too upset before I get back, yeah? I'll bring back dinner or somethin', I think that KFC 'round the block' still open." It's an awkward semblance of a peace offering, if not something of a greasy one. "A'right, I'ma bounce. Don't break anything or drink anything poisonous while'm gone or you'll be buried out in the car port out back." With a wrinkle of his nose, Andy eyes Peyton a bit anxiously, then just ducks his head respectfully before headed to the doorway that leads to the basement stairs.

Colette's quiet as Andy's talking, arms wrapped around herself and head bowed in a nod. "I dunno' anyone named Mack…" She admits quietly, "it might be, though." With green eyes uplifting to Peyton, Colette moves over to her, noticing the anxiety she's possessed with now. A small hand moves out to her shoulder, hesitantly, then offers a gentle squeeze. "Girl's name is Matilda Wonler… or— or osmething like that" She's terrible with names. "That little brunette girl from the Lighthouse?" A kid is missing? "She's one've Brian's kids. I— don't know where she is, but I was gonna have her help me find Joseph."

Anxiously looking to Kaylee, Colette turns to look from her to the letters and back, a furrow of her brows and a mental pang of anxiety indicating an uncertainty about whether or not she should continue or just start opening letters to get everyone's mind off of this.

The idea of a chicken dinner seems to improve Doyle's spirits immensely, at least from the smile that's flashed to Andy as he turns to head back; lifting one hand to flick the soft white 'puff' at the tassel of his hat back over his shoulder, he brings one hand up to rub against his thick throat, lips pursing a little in displeasure at the idea of some kid that's gone missing. "It's a shitty world," he opins quietly, "Who knows what could've happened, you know?"

"It wasn't HF, the people who took Mack. I've been told it's okay by someone … who can see the future, but you know, I'm still a little uncertain about that kind of thing," Peyton says tentatively, glancing at the letters on the table, remembering perhaps why they're here for the first time. "I don't know any of them, I've only been there once, but I'll keep an eye out, I promise," she adds, regarding 'Matilda.' She sighs, pulling her coat around her, as if cold, looking a bit forlorn.

"Three missing in such a short period of time… you have to wonder if it's connected somehow." He gets up as the coffee pot makes that gurgling 'I'm finished' sound and pours fresh cups for himself and Peyton, holding it up questioningly to the rest of the group. "The big question is if it isn't HF, who is it?"

Leaning forward in her seat Kaylee picks up a letter and plays with it a bit, before opening the stationary slowly, eyes scanning the content of the letter. "Well… not much we can do tonight and we have other kids that are counting on us to give them probably the first good Christmas since Midtown blew up." She glances at each in return, holding the letter up the messy scrawl visable. "Especially those Summer Meadow's kids." She gives them all a sad smile. "I want to find them just as much as anyone," A glance going to Colette, but then flickers away and down at the letter again, almost embarrassed about something.

"What do you guy say? Letters now.. stress later?"

A side-long look is offered to Kaylee from Colette, dark brows furrowed as she looks at the letters on the table, then up to Doyle in his Santa hat, then around to everyone else. She's been remarkably quiet while the conversation has gone on around her, but the matchstick thin girl seems to hesitate at the letters. Green eyes track towards the basement stairs, teeth toying at her lower lip. Finally, exhaling her tension in a tired sigh she resigns herself to the task at hand. "She's right…"

Turning away from Peyton, Colette makes her way back to the chair she was in, pulling it out and turning it around backwards before straddling it and resting her arms on the back. She slouches forward against the chair, reaching out to pluck one letter off the table and start working the envelope flap open. "We may as well… make something good happen from all of this."

"If you find out anything about who snatched your friend up," Doyle offers, suddenly, a tight and not entirely warm smile upon his lips as he looks over towards Colette, "Just let me know. I can… have a talk with whoever did it." The smile bleeds away for a moment, and then he drops himself down into a chair, the legs of it creaking in protest. One hand comes up, rubbing against his face, "Alright, let's get these letters over with then."

Picking up one of the letters, Peyton glances up at Doyle and blinks twice, face paling again. "Um. Sure," she says quietly, before her eyes drop to the envelope as her fingers slide beneath the flap, pulling it open. "By the way — I'm totally cool with offering funds for this, but I'm not sure how much of the actual shopping I can do… hobbled as I am. I brought a bunch of gift cards to some shops to give you guys, to help out a bit. Target and Sears."

"Letters now, stress later." Robin nods with a small, but not forced, smile. "I like that plan." Tipping an imaginary hat to Peyton, he says, "Thanks, that will come in quite handy. I can do some of the shopping as long as the lists are legible." He picks a letter at random and smiles a little wider, "Look." He turns it so everyone can see the 'letter' which is a crayon drawing of an action figure with a child's name written under it in a messy crayon scrawl, barely fitting in at the bottom of the paper. As far as mood boosters go, it's a cute one.

When the teenage seats herself, Kaylee offers her a small smile, before moving to start writing on the pad, Kids name - Toy - Address. She doesn't have the world greats handwriting that's for sure, but it's readable. She smooths the paper flat and sets it next to her starting her read pile.

Eyes lift to consider Doyle and smirks. Nice to know he's on their side, would be rather scary if he wasn't. Speaking of Eric.. The next letter is unfolded and read, a mischievous grin touching her lips. "Oh.. this one is all you." Her blue eyes turn to Eric and she gives a wag of her brows as she reads it outloud.

Dear Mr Claus,

If you are real, I would very much like to have a signed photograph for Christmas. There don't have to be any reindeer in it, but if reindeer want to be in it or you would like reindeer to be in it that is okay with me.
Some of my friends say that you're not real but other people tell me you are. So if you are real I would like a picture to show them. Or at least your autograph.
I would also like to be Evolved so I can grow up to be a hero. I would like to fly if you can arrange that. Or shoot lasers with my eyes.
My sister says she wants a puppy called Patch. He should be brown and white with floppy ears.

Sam B.
Number 28 Shore Lane

The house with the wonky chimney.

Pulling the letter close as she leans over to the puppeteer, giving him a wicked grins. "I smell a photo shoot, Santa." Her voice taking on a sing song quality.

Peyton's offer gets a surprised look, but then Kaylee grins. "Awfully nice of you. Any help would be great. I've been working on finding some Christmas trees whole sale. I have a potential seller who will give a large discount for making sure we remember to mention their name to the reports."

Eyes squint across the table at Robins, "Can you tell that action figure that even is?" Kaylee asks with a chuckle. "It's totally cute though."

Cracking a smile, Colette shakes her head as Kaylee reads the letter aloud. Finally having opened her letter, she starts to read the small amount of print written on the piece of paper. There isn't even much on there, just a sentence or two at most, but Colette only gets about halfway thorugh it before a distraught look crosses her face. She bites down on her lower lip, eyes glossing over with a glassy sheen before it's discarded atop the pile of unopened letters. "I— " her voice croaks out, "I can't do this."

She hastily bolts up from her chair, wiping at her eyes with one hand, shaking her head back and forth subtly as if to continually deny what it is she just read. "I'm— I can't do this, I'm sorry." She takes a step back from the table, both hands raised as if to say she's hands off from the whole matter, or perhaps surrendering to the content of the letter.

Open, atop the pile of letters, it is plain as day to read.

Dear Santa,

I want my mommy and daddy back.

— Kyle, Age 8

The first two get a faint smile from Doyle, the careful description of the puppy actually stirring a quiet chuckle from his lips, broad shoulders shaking a bit as he reaches over to gather a few of the letters to himself to read. The fat man's mood is clearly improving as he warms to the company - at least a little - even if he avoids most eye contact and isn't interacting too closely with anyone aside, possibly, Kaylee.

The reaction from the teenaged girl gets his attention as he's tearing open another, though, and he looks up with a hint of concern furrowing his brow. He reaches over to lift the opened letter from the stack, drawing it back to him to read. The puppeteer's expression becomes more blank, none of the tenative friendliness or awkward uncertainty that's usually there, his gaze lingering on those few words before he sets the letter to one side, saying almost too quietly to hear, "Don't we all, kiddo. Don't we all."

"Cole…" Peyton says softly. She's not so much older that she doesn't know what it's like. She was still a minor when her parents died, though only for a few months. Her eyes tear up, before she finishes opening her own letter, hoping to perhaps insert some levity back in the situation.

"'Dear Santa,'"

"'If it's not too much to ask, could you please' — spelled P L E A Z, how cute is that," Peyton reads, "'send me an EZ Bake oven because my mom always burns the cupcakes so I want to learn to make them myselves.' Myselves? Wonder if she's a mini replicator. 'Shelbey, age 9. P.S. I need the dough and everything to go with it, don't forget. And I like chocolate best!'"

Robin looks mock-offended at Kaylee's comment. "Of course I can, it's Spiderman. See the little webs?" He's a giant kid; of course he recognizes the action figure. His mood plummets though as he sees the letter Colette opened, and he rubs a hand over his face. Hopefully Peyton's letter cheered the teen up somewhat because he's not great at comforting girls. "Oh, I've got one, but it's not from the box. My nephew made me promise to mail this to Santa." He tears open the envelope and reads…

Dear Santa,

It's Terry and I was really good this year no matter what my dad says, though he won't write you cause he says he never wants anything for Christmas. Grown ups are weird. Most of them any way. My uncle says he wants a rocket for Christmas, so I gotta ask for something different. A rocket would be really cool but I don't want to ask for the same thing (and Uncle Robin will let me play with the rocket any way) so what I want for Christmas is a New Bike. Please.

Thank You.
Terry Milburn.

Reaching out to take the letter from Doyle as he sets it aside, Kaylee good humor slips away some. "I had a feeling we'd see some of this." She admits softly. "Colette… " the telepath starts turning to her, her tone gentle with understanding ".. this is all about hope and needing to be heard. It's not going to be easy. I knew that when I took on this project," Taking a deep breath she goes back to the letters, picking up the next few, notes being made. "These are kids that have been through hell and that's why I wanted to do this. Hard part will be trying to find gifts for kids like Kyle."

"Boy.. a lot of puppies.." Kaylee notes as she scans another letter, her voice raising a bit to read it.

Dear santa

I just reeellly want a puppy. Mom says I hav to ask you cause its not or house. Pleeeeeaaaseee give me a puppy. I will walk it and feed it and give it bathes to make shore it doesn't stink and keep it quit. Hopfully you know we are living in another place cause mom said you would and that you keep track but itd be bad if you went down our old chimney. But if you get the write house please bring my a puppy.


Kaylee looks thoughtful.. "How do we do that.. Lord know that's several puppies." She motions to her growing read pile. "Though I can understand.. Mans best friend and all." She trails off as Robin reads his letter, a mischievous smile is sent his way. "Well.. I know what to get you for Christmas."

Eyes closed, Colette rakes her fingers thorugh her bangs, head down and a sigh slipping out from her. She bobs her head in a nod, moving into the kitchen and towards the sink. "You— guys keep reading I— I'll grab one in a second." She's not far out of sight, most of the ground floor is an open space, and the sink is some ten or fifteen feet from the table Kaylee's seated at with the letters. It's not water, or anything of the sort, that Colette is going for. Instead, the teen opens the old avacado-colored refrigerator and rustles around in the mostly empty contents. A glass clink comes out, followed by the long neck of a brown glass bottle that most certainly is not soda.

She pulls a magnetic bottle cap opener off of the front of the fridge, pops the top off with a hiss to clatter on the floor, then leans her back against the counter and takes a sip, staring down at her feet before pinching the bridge of her nose with one hand. She knows the right thing to do is help out; the hard part is doing the right thing.

"There's always some shelters with more dogs and cats than they can handle," Doyle points out with a gesture of his left hand, even as he surrepitiously slides the letter that'd upset Colette so off the table with the other; tucking it into a pocket for the time being, his hand remaining down on his thigh as if he was just shifting his weight. Sleight of hand, it seems, is a talent of the manually dextrous puppeteer.

"I'm sure we can get some puppies out there." A quick smile, that fades as he glances after Colette's departure. Perhaps surprisingly, sympathy - and a hint of understanding - there as he reaches for another letter to peel open.

"Just make sure you check with the parents, if you can match them to the kids, first," suggests Peyton. "Or maybe there's a grown up there who can agree to take a puppy and let the kids come play with it, someone you guys trust. Like maybe that Kat girl, she's nice." She glances over her shoulder at Colette, eyes empathetic for the girl's pain and grief. "For the ones who don't have Moms and Dads, maybe you can set up a Big Sister, Little Sister, Big Brother, Little Brother sort of thing, maybe? People who could go spend time with them, help them out, mentor them." She chews her lower lip, her own eyes tearing up.

Robin pinches the bridge of his nose, though he's still smiling at Kaylee. "I did tell Terry I was going to ask for a rocket, but that's only because he wouldn't leave me be about it." He makes sure not to write down the name and the bike though, explaining, "His grandparents are getting him a bike, they already said so." Nodding at Peyton, he adds, "Good ideas, both of them." Then it's on to more letters.

"All good suggestions." Kaylee declares with a short nod. The teen in the other room doesn't know it, but the telepath keeps tabs on her quietly. Her reaction concerned Kaylee enough to want to keep and 'eye' on her. Each letter is opened in relative silence, notes made of each one. More the the solemn ones pop up along the way. But one letter catches her attention, her brows lifting high on her head, then a soft smile.

"This one is going out to the work site with me." The words are spoken quietly, "Right here is the reason I go out there everyday." Holding the letter in front of her, Kaylee reads the letter for the others,

Dear Santa,

I don't really want anything. I want you to make sure the people that are working here get on the Nice list. When they fixed the house, they made mom smile. She hasn't smiled since daddy got blowned up.

So make sure the people fixing up our home don't get coal they deserve more.

Thank you Santa!

Mary, age 9
Summer Meadow

Kaylee folds up the letter and turns to tuck it into her jacket. "I think the others should see that one. I think it will make them feel good about what they are doing."

The evening will stretch on, chicken delivered by Andy with little flair, but by the end of it all, the Ferrymen are left with a good sized list to work with and a bit more humble about the kids within the community and the safehouses. Each letter an incite into the minds of children at the bottom of it all.

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