As Nick looked out at the scrappy cast of characters he had to trust to carry on the promise of Christmas, a huge sigh escaped his lungs when no one was looking.
“You still got Donner,” Anne said. Ever the doting wife, she always reassured him.
“She can do it…but I need her in the middle. I need the kid.”
Nick put on his coat and headed for the stables. As the reindeer made crude jokes and saddled up, Nick made his way to the back stable where Rudy sat quietly deep in thought, his nose a dull glimmer.
“Hey, Champ, “ Nick said as he sat down beside him.
“How you feeling?”
“You got people who love you, kid. All of us.”
Rudy’s eyes began to well up. “I don’t want to fail you…but I ain’t got it no more, Coach!” Rudy said looking down at his nose.
Slowly, the other reindeer began to surround the stall.
“It wasn’t the candy canes that made you great. It was this,” Nick said as he patted him on his heart.
“Ru-dy,” Prancer quietly said. Dancer looked at his brother and echoed him. “Ru-dy.” Then Dasher and
Vixen spoke up, “Ru-dy” followed by Comet, Cupid and Blitzen: ”Ru-dy.”
Donner stomped her hooves and yelled, “Ru-DY!”
The stables broke out into a wild stomping chant: “RU-DY! RU-DY! RU-DY!”
And as Rudy’s heart began to swell, his nose began to glow.