A/N: Written for originalfic_las for the prompt: Write the story of the Christmas Carol but make it unique somehow from the original story
Summary: The Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future watch TV together.
“This,” the Ghost of Christmas Future said firmly, “is by far my favorite show.”
Past and Present shot each other looks and shuddered as Future leaned towards the TV, a notepad and pen clutched in his gaunt hands.
“I saw that!” Future snapped, throwing them a dark glare. Or, presumably he did; it was awfully hard to see anything under that cloak of his.
“‘Scare Tactics,’ Future, honestly?” Past said in a voice of delicate incredulity, her pale face a study in polite neutrality.
“My good Past, it’s necessary! In Scrooge’s time all we needed was a neglected grave and a bit of hellfire to contrast with your own scenes,” he gestured at Past and Present politely, “and people were scrambling to make changes. Nowadays you have to get a little more creative to really grab people’s attention.”
“Reality TV?” Present protested, in a slightly strangled voice at odds with his huge frame.
“Oh, he’s actually on to something, Present,” Past said, with a pale sigh. “I watch for ideas too.”
“You watch ‘Scare Tactics?!’”
“No, no, Heavens no. Lifetime network and the Hallmark channel, anything that has a happy ending! People need to remember Christmas with a fond golden glow. And these days people need a lot of fondness. Have to keep the image updated, don’t you know!”
Present rolled his eyes.
“Besides, Present, isn’t what you do essentially reality TV anyways?” Future added, scribbling a note as someone on screen shrieked in abject horror.
Present looked highly offended, ruddy color flushing his rounded cheeks.
“I am not a reality TV host, I am a reporter,” he said stiffly. “I show people the facts. Knowing what they could have, right now, helps make them change!”
“Though, come to think of it, Past, some of those Lifetime movies really put their protagonists through the ringer. Maybe I should join you in a viewing sometime,” Future said thoughtfully.
“Be my guest,” Past said generously, as the end credits rolled on Scare Tactics.
“May I watch the news now?” Present asked tightly, holding out his huge hand for the remote.
“Ah, war, disease, political corruption, crime…” Future said fondly.
“Heartwarming human interest stories…” Past continued.
“And all of it true, and not contrived or poorly written,” Present concluded, ignoring the glares of his co-workers. They snorted softly as the news logo came on the screen, and all three leaned forward, notepads in hand, as the day’s news began. Hopefully, by dawn tomorrow, their new ideas would have helped changed another stony heart.