Tis the Season

SUMMARY: The holidays during Season 1 that Joss never told us about.
RATING: G(ish)
POSTED: 21 Dec 2005

Angel sat at his desk flipping though the pages of the French version of Les Miserables. It was a second edition, and he had read it more than once. Angel sniffed…Cordelia was right it did smell funny. But books were supposed to smell like this, like they had substance. The glossy magazines that Cordelia flipped through aren’t exactly literature, plus with all the perfume samples, they were well, overwhelming.

Angel heard the scrap of Cordelia’s chair being moved in the outer office and quickly turned his head back down to the book, pretending to read.

“Angel?” Cordelia said from the door frame, her arms folded across her chest.

She was using the voice, the one which involves money, mine, getting used.

Cordelia cleared her throat loudly, glaring at the vampire.

Angel looked up from the book, “Yes.”

Cordelia walked into the office and closed the door behind her, approaching the desk she rested her hands on the back of the chair in front of the desk, “What are we doing for Christmas?”


“You know that holiday that is only 10 shopping days away.”

“um…hadn’t really planned on anything.” Angel looked back down at his book.

Cordelia cocked her head “Why?”

“Well let’s see, I’m a vampire.” Angel replied, not looking up from his book.

“Duh, we haven’t found a cure for that yet. What does that have to do with Christmas?”


“Oh is it that whole thing about celebrating the birth of the guy who brought around crosses?”

Angel looked up, Cordelia had moved from standing in front of his desk to sitting in the chair in front of the desk. This was not going to be a quick conversation. He closed the book, ignoring the page that he wasn’t reading, and laid the book on the desk.

“But still your Irish right, you must have celebrated Christmas back in the day?” Angel could sense that Cordelia was trying to soften him up, baiting him into the Christmas spirit.

He didn’t take the bait, “I did.”

“So you agree we should get a tree, deck the halls, hang mistletoe and stuff.” Cordelia suggested, giving him the smile that turned most mortal men to mush.

Angel thought about mistletoe and held back a small smile, the tavern in his home town always had it hung at the holidays which gave him many excuses to kiss the buxom tavern wenches…not that he needed an excuse.

“The tree will get sap all over the floor. Plus aren’t they a fire hazard?” Angel decided that it was going to be fun giving his seer a hard time on this one.

“No, that is why you get a tree skirt silly. And a fresh tree isn’t a fire hazard.” Cordelia challenged back. She had to win this argument.

“Why not just decorate your apartment Cordelia.” Angel had a sneaking suspicion that he was not going to win this one.

Cordelia huffed, “I can’t it would just be wrong…see I think that Dennis might be Jewish and well it has been his home longer than it has been mine.”

“You think your ghost is Jewish?” Angel wasn’t expecting that curve.

“Sure, didn’t his ghost of a mother scream overbearing Jewish mom?”

“That is not a nice stereotype, why don’t you just ask Dennis, even if he is Jewish I am sure he wouldn’t mind you decorating.”

Cordelia watched him carefully, and it didn’t look like he was going to give in, time to pull out the big guns. “Okay, I am going to cut to the quick. Wesley doesn’t have any family here in the States, and I don’t think that it will be good for him to spend the holidays alone. We have to have Christmas. We have to have this place not look like doom and gloom central.” Cordelia said quickly, waiting to hear the vampire response.

Angel looked at her. Cordelia didn’t have any family in the country either. Maybe Wesley wasn’t the only one who needed something during the holidays.

Angel picked up his book and opened it back up to a random page.

“Angel!” Cordelia whined, not believing she was loosing this battle. She huffed and stood up from the chair, getting ready to leave his office, planning on slamming the door.

Angel didn’t look up, but said quietly, “No nativity scenes.”

Cordelia turned around and gave a big smile then sprinted to the desk. She hugged Angel, in a surprising move, and in a not so surprising move opened the bottom drawer and pulled out the cash box.

“Hey, what do you need in there?” Angel asked putting the flat of his hand on the lid of the cash box before Cordelia could open it.

“Well, it is your office we are decorating, so it should go on the office account.” Cordelia prided Angel’s hand from the lid and opened the cash box taking out money.

“Be ready to go as sunset, you are helping me get the tree.” Cordelia said, pushing the money into her jeans, and heading out the door.
~ * ~

“I don’t understand why I had to come, you should have brought Wesley.” Angel grumbled as he followed Cordelia through the maze of pine trees. Lots of them looked closer to death than he did, and for the life of him he couldn’t understand why some were spray painted white.

“Well I can’t exactly strap a tree to the back of his Harley. Plus he is down in San Diego working on some project for David Nabbit, and won’t be back until Christmas Eve. Something about dragons or dungeons or something like that.” Cordelia said as she examining a pine tree, pulling on a branch seeing how many needles came out.

“Can I help you miss?” A burly looking man came up to her, obviously ogling her tight jeans and sweater.

Angel held back a growl, and moved closer to Cordelia. He had almost told her to change her outfit before the left, but he had a feeling that would have been a loosing battle.
Cordelia adjusted the scarf around her neck and looked at the man, sizing him up and deciding to go with charm. She smiled, “Yes, can you tell me where you are keeping the less dead trees?”

“A smart shopper, follow me.” He winked at her and ignored the tall dark unhappy looking boyfriend that was tagging behind her.

Cordelia followed the man through the maze of trees, amazed at how many were left this close to Christmas, but not surprised at how many looked like they had been cut for the 4th of July.

“Here we go, this bunch just came in today, now they are for a big customer, but they won’t mind missing one. Not for a lovely lady like yourself.” The burly guy said, winking at Cordelia. .

Cordelia looked the trees up and down, they almost seemed to glow, very alive compared to the rest of the trees around them. Some were huge, way too big for the office, and then she spotted it, the perfect tree.

“Angel, look at this one, this is the perfect tree for us.” Cordelia said, pulling the grumpy vampire over to the far side of the lot to a tree in the corner.

Angel let himself get pulled along. This had to be the 300th tree he had seen tonight, and they all looked alike. All of them were way to expensive though, it was just a pine tree.

“Don’t you think it is perfect?” Cordelia looked from the tree to Angel and then back to the tree.

“Cordy, it looks like every other tree we have looked at for the past 2 hours.”

“No, it is sooo much better…look the needles don’t come off when I pull on a branch.” Cordelia demonstrated, showing that her white gloves didn’t pull off a single pine needle.

Angel looked from her hand to the ‘sales guy’. “How much?”

“I can cut you a deal, seeing how much the lady here likes this tree.” Burly guy said, knowing that he was going to make out on this particular sale.

“Angel we just have to get this tree.” Cordelia said, smiling up at the vampire, hoping the price didn’t make him all grrr.

Angel had wished that those words hadn’t come out of Cordelia’s mouth, he was positive that whatever price was originally in the guys head had now doubled.

“I should really be selling this one as $150, but since it is Christmas, I will let it go for a C-note” Burly guy said, hands in his pockets rocking back and forth.
Angel growled, he was not about to pay $100 for a dead tree, hell he wouldn’t pay that much for a live tree. He started to turn away from the scene, but before he could react he felt a small hand reaching into his pocket pulling out his wallet.

“That is really nice of you,” Cordelia said, opening up Angel’s wallet, starting to pull out the cash. Boy was it a good thing that he was old fashioned and carried cash instead of plastic. Wonder how he would get a credit card being dead and all? Cordelia wondered.

“Hey!” Angel said, not fast enough to stop the brunette from passing over the money to the tree guy.

“Angel, it is a good deal, we should take it.” Cordelia said firmly, as in, don’t argue with me buster.

Burly guy took the money quickly, knowing that if the big guy had his way, this sale would not go through. “Hey I will even throw in the rope to tie it to the top of your car, and help get it secured.”

“Who said anything about putting a tree on the top of my car?” Angel glared down at Cordelia.

“Pfft, how else are we getting it home??” Cordelia said, leading the way out of the trees with the Burly guy following her carrying the tree, and Angel bringing up the rear.

“Joe, what were you thinking selling trees from that section?” One of the other tree sales guys said, approaching the “burly” guy who had just finished tying the tree to the top of GTX.

“Come on Dan, do you really think that Wolfram & Hart will miss one tree? Plus she paid me $100 for that tree, now that is what I call Christmas Spirit.” Burly guy said with a big smile.

~ * ~

“It isn’t straight yet.” Cordelia said, sitting on Angel’s couch, downstairs in his apartment. Angel was under the tree, adjusting the stand, giving Cordelia a nice view of his behind.

Angel crawled out from under the tree and stood up. There were pine needles attached to his black sweater and there was pine sap all over his hands. He walked over and stood besides Cordelia and looked at the tree. She was right it still wasn’t straight. He had been going at this for over an hour now. Not including the time he had already spent setting up the tree in the office, just for Cordelia to inform him that it “wasn’t working” in that environment. He had dragged the tree down the stairs to his apartment and started all over again trying to get the stupid thing straight. Was it his fault it had grown crooked?

“It doesn’t look too bad.” Angel said, folding his arms over his chest and then feeling his hands stick to his sweater. He had no idea how he was going to get the pine sap off of the cloth convertible top, but had a feeling he would guilt Cordelia into getting it hand washed.

Cordelia bit her bottom lip and examined the tree. “Why don’t you try shifting it to the left a bit?”

Angel looked at her and went over to the tree and pulled it to the left. He let go of the tree and it bounced back to the right slightly, but seemed to be less crooked.


Cordelia stood and looked at the tree, “Yes third time was a charm, but I thought for sure you would be faster this time.”

“Well, I thought it looked fine upstairs, both in the lobby and even in my office.” Angel said, picking up the package of electrical lights, and opening it, pulling off the packaging.

“Christmas trees belong in a living room.” Cordelia said, as she opened the other package of lights. They had bought four packages and she just hoped it was enough. She knew her spending spree was close to an end with the vampire, especially when he nearly vamped out at the sales clerk at Target when she read him the price off the register for the ornaments and lights.

“Back in the day we also hung holly everywhere.” Angel said absently, trying to untangle the third string of lights.

“Really?” Cordelia, leaning down behind the tree plugging in her string of lights, starting to wrap them around the bottom of the tree. She got to the end of her string, and turned to take the next set from Angel. She couldn’t help herself but laugh, he had gotten his hands completely tangled in the lights, and couldn’t shake them off with the sticky sap still on his hands.

“I told you candles would have been easier.” Angel said, trying to shake the wire from his fingers.

“You also told me you were worried about a Christmas trees causing fires. I think using candles would have guaranteed that.” Cordelia said, walking over and pulling the lights away from Angel, and started quickly untangling the string.

“I need to wash this stuff off; do you think it is a demon tree?” Angel asked, looking down at his hands.

“No, just a normal tree, I’ll finish the lights, you get cleaned up, before we need to start calling you Mr. Clean.” Cordelia said, turning back to start on the next stream of lights.

“Mr. Clean?” Angel asked, heading towards the sink in the kitchen.

“You know Pine Fresh.” Cordelia tossed over her shoulder.

As Angel washed his hands he thought about what had transpired since he had agreed to let Cordelia decorate. His wallet was significantly lighter. Who would have thought little lights and a pine tree would be so expensive.

Angel dried his hands on the kitchen towel and walked back to the living room, in time to see Cordelia standing on the arm of a chair, trying to hang the lights near the top of the tree, just about ready to go over. He could tell from the creek of the chair that it was not appreciating the brunette propped up on the arm. He looked shocked as Cordelia leaned further over, trying to get the lights adjusted, and reacted before being able to say anything, as the arm of the chair broke and Cordelia started to fall forward into the tree.

He caught her around the waist, blocking her fall into the tree, with an ooof from her.

“Oh thank god for vampire speed.” Cordelia said clutching onto the lights and Angel’s shoulders. Her chest was pressed into his face and her feet were dangling.

“What were you doing?” Angel asked as he stood her on the ground, sliding her down his chest.

“Trying to get the lights up on the top of the tree.” Cordelia said, holding up the lights that were hanging over Angel’s shoulder. She looked down as he quickly pulled his hands away from her waist.

“And the chair won?” Angel asked, taking the lights out of her hands and turning to the tree, and wrapping them around the higher branches.

“Very funny,” Cordelia responded, bending down to pick up the broken chair arm. “You know, you shouldn’t have such unstable furniture here, I was almost hurt.

Angel turned around, “Well it was an antique meant for sitting, not as a step ladder.”

“Oops” Cordelia said, hiding the chair arm around her back.

Angel didn’t smile, but felt like one was coming. “Just glad you weren’t hurt, or worse made that tree crooked. I need to get the rest of this sap off me, no high ornaments, I’ll get them after I shower” Angel said, walking past Cordelia and the tree.
Cordelia watched him walk past and then looked down at the chair arm in her hands, she wondered if he had chair glue, probably not, he didn’t have linoleum glue.

~ * ~

“Happy Holidays, Angel Investigations” Cordelia said brightly into the phone, hoping for a paying client.

“oh hi Wes.” She said into the receiver upon hearing the young Brit’s voice. She casually started flipping through her Cosmo magazine, only half listening.

“No, I’m listening to you Wesley.” Cordelia stood, seeing if the phone would reach over to the coffee machine.

“Yes, I’m taking notes” Cordelia said pouring sludge out of the coffee pot into a cup, looking down deciding that maybe it had been on the burner a little too long.

“What, which book do you want?” Cordelia said putting the cup of sludge back on the counter, pulling the phone cord past its limits and the phone crashing to the ground.

“Urghhhh!” Cordelia shouted at the sound of the phone crashing down. Angel appeared outside his office and leaned against the door jam watching Cordelia pick up the phone.

“No, I just dropped the phone. You’re going to be back for Christmas, right Wes?” Cordelia asked, placing the phone back on the desk, and picking up a pad of paper and pen.

“Yeah, here, Angel is cooking. Which book again?” Cordelia said, ignoring the glare that Angel gave her from the spot he was standing.

“Mr. Nabbit’s courier can pick it up anytime this afternoon, I’ll pull it out ofAngel’s office.” Cordelia said into the phone, absently tapping the pen on the desk.

“Okay Wesley, have fun with the chanting, don’t be late, you need to be here for Christmas Eve dinner. Okay, bye.” Cordelia hung up the phone, and ripped off the sheet of paper with the name of the book scribbled down in her bold handwriting.

“I’m cooking Christmas Eve dinner?” Angel asked arms folded over his chest.

“Well, yeah, I mean you are a much better cook than I am, and I don’t think that Wesley knows how to cook. Plus isn’t English food gross?” Cordelia asked as she stopped before him and the entrance to his office. She put her hands on his shoulders, stood on tip toe and kissed him.

Angel pulled away, not quite sure what was happening. It was a nice kiss, why was Cordelia kissing him?

“Caught yah!” Cordelia said, looking up at the door frame at the sprig of mistletoe hanging above Angel’s head. Then just as quickly turning and heading toward the book case in Angel’s office.

Angel watched her walk pass, appreciating her as only a man-pire could. Mistletoe is still fun.

Cordelia bend to pull Wesley’s book from the case when the blinding pain of a vision hit her “Arghhhhhhhhh” she screamed collapsing to the ground. The visions past before her eyes of pine trees and screaming children. As she stopped convulsing she found herself being held by Angel. She moved her hand gingerly to her head, waiting for the question to come from his lips.

“Cordy, what did you see?” Angel asked, Cordelia’s head resting against his chest.

“Strange, a Santa, surrounded by Christmas trees and children.” Cordelia looked up at Angel, “The Santa was getting ready to eat the children Angel.” She shuttered at the image still burned in her brain, and tried to stand up, but her legs were wobbly and ended up back on the floor of Angel’s office.

“Cordy, are you okay?” Angel asked, looking at his seer in his lap, shuttering in pain.

“Angel you have to find those children, this is just so wrong.” She looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

“I will, don’t worry, why don’t you lay down for a bit downstairs and I’ll call Wesley.” Angel said quietly.

“Okay” Cordelia said, and started to get up again, but her head started spinning. Before she knew it, Angel had picked her up and carried her downstairs to his apartment.


“No she is downstairs lying down; the vision hit her hard Wes.” Angel said into the phone pacing as he spoke.

“I know, not much to go on, fake Santa, trees, children, that could be a hundred places this time of year.” Angel stopped and looked out the window, the sun had finally set, so he could search the city.

“No, don’t head back yet, you need to finish the exorcism for Nabbit, last thing we need is a demon computer virus in one of his systems.” Angel looked again at the mistletoe and thought how quickly a vision would knock out his seer. One minute laughing the next, screaming. “Yeah, I’ll give you a call if I figure anything out, you’ll be back for Christmas Eve? Good it’s important to Cordelia. Alright, bye Wes”
Angel hung up the phone, dreading of the thought of having to start at the malls searching for a deranged Santa. He decided to check on Cordelia before heading out on what he was sure was a wild goose chase.

She looked small in his bed, curled up under the blanket, her eyes closed. He stood by the edge of the bed and looked down at her. Her breathing was regular but he could tell she wasn’t sleeping.

“I’m gonna do a scan of the malls. Fake Santa’s are all the rage at the malls.” Angel said, trying unsuccessfully at humor.

“Pasadena, for some reason it felt like Pasadena.” Cordelia said, not opening her eyes, but reaching up her hand to grasp Angel’s. “But there is more, but I can’t tell.”

“It is a place to start. I’ll be back before sunrise, stay here and get some rest.” Angel squeezed her hand and then left.

~ * ~

There were people everywhere, and very few shadows to hide in for the vampire. This definitely was a challenge to his two modes with people of bite and avoid. It was impossible not to be bumped by shoppers. Had people always been this rude?

Angel made his way to center court and saw the long line of children waiting to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. It looked normal, nothing strange at all. He glanced around the display noting that Santa’s workshop was surrounded by real pine trees and not fake ones, but other than that nothing seemed odd. He walked around the line and tried to get a closer look.

“Hey no cutting the line mister!” A small boy shouted up to Angel as he moved towards the front of the line.

Angel looked down at the small boy, he was carrying a very worn looking teddy bear in one hand and was holding onto a young woman’s hand. “No, I don’t want to cut the line, just …looking,” Angel said.

“Mom, we are going to be able to see him tonight aren’t we?” The little boy ignoring Angel asked his mother.

“Hopefully, but this line isn’t moving very fast Peter.” The mother said to her son, hoping that they would not have to return again. She looked down at her watch, and could not believe they had been standing in this line for 2 days. She shook her head, maybe they would get to see Santa tonight.

Angel moved past the people and tried to get around to the back of the display, but the number of pine trees just got thicker, and he couldn’t see what was in the back.
“Hey Mister, you really shouldn’t be back here.” A small man dressed as an elf scolded Angel.

Angel put on a fake smile and shoved his hands into his pockets, “Just looking, long line tonight.”

“Yeah, it has been like this since the trees got brought in.” The elf said, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and lighting one. He offered the pack to Angel.

Angel declined the cigarette with a shake of his head. “Really, I would have thought it would have been busy all month?”

“Yeah but now it takes forever to get people through the line. And that Santa has to hear everyone’s request, he can’t just speed them along. Last year’s Santa was much more efficient.” The elf took another drag on the cigarette and looked over his shoulder.

“Look I have to get back, if I were you I wouldn’t bother getting into that line.” The elf warned, then stubbed the smoke out on the sole of his boot.

“Why not?” Angel asked, wondering if the man would disclose what was really going on here.

“Well unless you have a speed pass ticket, you are gonna wait in that line forever. Anyway, you don’t have any kids so I don’t expect you to want to see Santa. I gotta get back or else they will dock me” The elf said, in a matter of fact way, adjusted his hat and headed back over to the display.

Angel watched him go, and thought something was strange but couldn’t put his finger on it. After the elf left he pushed aside one of the trees and all he saw was the wall at the back of the mall. Nothing funny here.

Angel looked at his watch, three more malls in Pasadena to hit tonight.

~ * ~

Cordelia sat on Angel’s couch, an afghan blanket wrapped around her legs, staring at the Christmas tree. Underneath the tree there were a handful of presents. Each nicely wrapped with big bows. She worried that if she moved from her spot on the couch she would be tempted to go over and check the tags on the gifts to see which were for her, and then she would want to peak. Plus the lights were so pretty.

The back door opened and Angel walked in, shrugging off his leather duster and hanging it on the rack. Before he knew it, he was tackled by Cordelia.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She shouted having leaped over the back of the sofa at the sound of Angel’s arrival
Angel pushed her away slightly and looked down at the girl…”For what?” He asked.

“Presents, you put presents under the tree!” Cordy beamed, hugging the vampire again.

“No Cordy, I didn’t” Angel said, pushing her to the side to go look at the tree. Underneath there were gifts. Gifts he had not put there.

“It must have been Wesley, is he back?” Cordelia asked coming up behind Angel, wrapping he arms around his stomach and hugging him, while poking her head around him to stare at the tree.

Angel shook his head, “No he is still in San Diego.” Angel turned and looked at Cordelia trying to disengage her arms from around him. This was way closer than he ever expected his Seer to be to him.

“They were here when I woke up; I have been up for about a half hour. Just sitting watching the tree, it is so pretty isn’t it?” Cordy asked, looking around Angel at the tree, its lights sparkling in the dim light of Angel’s apartment.

“I didn’t find anything at any of the malls in Pasadena. How are you feeling?” Angel asked, taking Cordelia by the elbow and maneuvering her back to sit on the couch.

“I can’t believe that there are so many gifts. I can’t wait to open them and see what I got.” Cordy ignored his question, looking around him as he moved her, focused on the tree and the presents underneath.

Angel put both hands on her cheeks and turned her head to face him; “Cordy snap out of it!”

“Huh?” Cordelia blinked and then looked into Angel’s eyes and winced. “Guess you didn’t find evil?” Snapping out of it once the tree was no longer in her line of sight. He moved away from her and went to the tree. Squatting down, Angel looked at the presents under the tree, then reached out to take one. His hand went right though the package, like it was a holographic image. It had looked real.

“Hey are any of those for me?” Cordy said leaning forward looking at the tree again, caught in the lights. “Aren’t the lights all sparkly?” Cordelia asked, mesmerized again.

Angel turned around and looked at her, she was starring at the tree, with a look of happiness on her face. If he didn’t know better, it would have been a lovely scene. He stood up and walked over to stand in front of Cordelia, blocking her view of the tree.

“Hey, your blocking my view Angel, move.” Cordelia said, standing up, trying to look over his shoulders.”

“Cordy, something is not right with this tree; there is definite magic under foot.” Angel said, moving his body trying to block her view. Finally he put his hand over her eyes.

“Angel, knock it off!” Cordy said trying to pull his hand away, but having no luck.

“No we need to talk but not here.” Angel said firmly, not moving his hand.

“But I want to watch the tree. Plus maybe more presents will appear.” Cordelia gasped as she felt herself being slung over Angel’s shoulder like a sack of grain. “Angel, put me down…no wait, I can see perfectly now, just stop moving.” Cordelia resumed staring at the tree as Angel carried her up the stairs to the offices.

Once he got to the top of the stairs, he kicked the door open and turned around setting the girl on her feet. He quickly closed the door to his apartment before she could make a dash for the stairs.

Once the lights from the tree had been completely blocked out, Cordelia shook her head.

“Angel? What is going on?” Cordelia asked, trying to clear her head. “You didn’t solve my vision.”

“No, I didn’t find anything in Pasadena.” Angel said using his body to block the entrance to her apartment, expecting her to make a dash for his apartment.

“Something strange is going on – what did you do?” Cordelia asked.

“Me, I wasn’t the one who had to decorate.” Angel stated, mimicking her stance of her arms folder over her chest.

“What does decorating have to do with anything Angel?” Cordelia turned and walked over to her desk, taking her water bottle and drinking from it.

“Cordy, you were just downstairs completely entranced with a pine tree.” Angel said watching her closely.

“What?” Cordelia starred at him, hoping he had answers

“You were entranced by that tree. I think that maybe I should make a return visit to the tree lot. Something is not right with that tree.” Angel said moving towards the front door.

“Pfft…entranced by a Christmas tree, please.” Cordelia said, not remembering what had transpired just a few minutes earlier.

“Believe me you were entranced. I’ll drop you off at your apartment; I don’t think it is a good idea for you to be around that tree. Once I get back, I am going to take it down and burn it.” Angel said, opening the office door, waiting for Cordelia to take his hint.

“Whoa Mister, there is no way you are going to ruin all of the decorating I did, that tree stays up until at least January 6th!” Cordelia said firmly.

“Cordy, I think it is evil, no correction I know it is evil.” Angel said equally firm.

Cordelia moved to stand in front of him, and poked his chest. “Look just because you are all bah humbuggy doesn’t mean that Wesley and I have to suffer.”

“I am not buggy, and stop poking me. Five minutes ago you were in a trance staring at that tree.” Angel said, grabbing her finger to stop the poking.

“Look, I don’t believe it, let’s go back downstairs and I will prove to you that I am not entranced by a tree.” Cordelia pulled her hand away and walked around Angel to the stairs. She opened the door and before she could step through Angel had moved with vampire speed and was in front of her, blocking the entrance.

“Listen, we can’t just pull everything down. Let’s just do a test run and see if maybe it was a fluke.” Cordelia said, pushing on Angel to get past him.

“Fine but when I have to carry you back up here, you better believe me.” Angel said, sure that she was going to be catatonic in another few steps.

Cordelia boldly went down the stairs and at the bottom turned and faced the tree. The presents were no longer under the tree and it looked like an ordinary Christmas tree, pretty but not magical.

“See, just a normal tree, albeit odd in your living room, but no entrancement here.” Cordelia said looking from the tree up to Angel who was standing a few steps above her on the stairs.

Angel looked and saw that there was just a lit Christmas tree. No gifts underneath, just a red felt tree skirt. He looked back at Cordy and saw that she looked pissed, definitely not in a trance.

“I don’t get it. I saw the presents.” Angel said, pushing past her to get to the tree. He looked behind and around the tree. There was nothing unusual there.

“So we don’t have to take it down, right?” Cordelia said from behind him.

“Maybe we should leave it up and see if something manifests.” Angel turned and faced her. “I still think I should check out that tree lot, and get you home.”

Cordelia looked down at her watch, and frowned “Well the tree lot is going to have to wait, it is almost dawn.”

Angel looked down at his watch – how had time flown so quickly, it was just a little after 1 am when he returned from Pasadena. “Cordy something very weird is going on, it shouldn’t be this early.” Angel said looking from the tree back to his Seer.

“I don’t know, you were gone quite a while Angel, maybe your watch stopped, plus I can tell I got a lot of sleep, even though it was post vision sleep. Weird.” Cordelia said walking over to the kitchen and opening up the fridge. “Do you want some O pos? I am going for O.J.” She pulled out the pitcher of orange juice and poured a glass.

Angel shook his head no and rubbed his eyes, “God I am tired.”

“Well it is almost your bed time.” Cordelia finished her orange juice and put the glass in the sink. “Look I am going to go home, catch a shower and change clothes, then I’ll check out the mall up in Pasadena. Maybe I will see something that triggers something from my vision.”

“I don’t think that is a good idea, I can’t protect you now.” Angel said moving to stand in front of her, not wanting her to leave.

“Come on Angel, what safer place is there for me than a mall at Christmas time during the day. Plus I have some Christmas shopping that needs to be done. I’ll be back before sunset.” Cordelia grabbed her jacket off of the back of the couch.

“Be careful, and be back before sunset.” Angel said.

“Sleep tight Angel.” Cordy said, heading for the stairs and into the morning sunlight.

~ * ~

Cordelia looked in the window of yet another store, and frowned. She had never had such an unsuccessful shopping trip and she only had two people to buy for, Angel and Wesley. Shopping was always easier when the credit cards didn’t have limits.

She walked past the center court and saw that the line for visiting Santa was long and unmoving. She looked at the set up, the pretend gingerbread house, the pine trees, it all looked really familiar…wait this was what she had seen in her vision the night before. It looked normal though, no screaming kids, no blood or gore. And no Santa.

Cordy walked up to the front of the line and noticed that the people who were waiting looked like annoyed shoppers, waiting for Santa. Not people under a trance or there against their wills.

She saw the small sign at the front of the cue. ”Santa is feeding his reindeer, he will be back tonight at 6 p.m.” There was a cartoon of Rudolph on the front of the sign and down at the bottom of the sign there was a small logo – Santa brought to you by the generosity of Wolfram & Hart

Cordelia looked around, it didn’t look evil, but that was how the law firm worked. She had to get back to the office and tell Angel that they didn’t have to bother with the tree lot tonight, that all the evil was right here in Pasadena. She looked at her watch and realized that with LA traffic she wouldn’t be back to the office until after sunset if she didn’t leave right now. Well there were still 2 days until Christmas, maybe there was a slim chance she would get some shopping done in between stopping evil, Cordelia thought as she walked away towards the parking garage.

“Mom, we have to wait just a little bit longer, I know we are going to get to see Santa tonight.” A small boy said to his mother.

“I don’t know Peter, we have been waiting here for 4 days, don’t you think we should just go home?” The mother asked, yawning from waiting in line.

“Just one more night Mom, please?” The boy asked, clutching the worn teddy bear to his chest.

The young mother just nodded, what was a few more hours after all the time they had waited so far this week.

~ * ~

“Angel!!” Cordelia shouted coming down the stairs to his apartment. As she got to the bottom step she was tackled by Angel, who squeezed her in a bear hug.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Angel said, lifting Cordelia off the floor and spinning her around.

Cordelia pushed back slightly against his shoulder and looked up at the vampire. ”For what, and hey, personal bubble!”

“Presents, you put presents under the tree!” Angel beamed, hugging the girl again.

“No Angel, I didn’t now put me down.” Cordy said, trying to push him to the side so she could look at the tree. Underneath there were gifts. Gifts she had not put there.

Angel put her down, but grabbed her hand and dragged her over to the tree. “Look at all the pretty wrapping paper. When did you have time to get presents for me? Or was it Wesley is he back?”

Cordelia shook her head, “No he is still in San Diego.” Angel had turned and wrapped his arms around her waist ready to hug her again. This was way closer than she ever expected she would be to the vampire.

“They were here when I woke up; I have been up for about a half hour. Just sitting watching the tree, it is so pretty isn’t it?” Angel asked, resting his chin on her shoulder looking at the tree, its lights sparkling in the dim light of Angel’s apartment, hugging her warm body closer.

“I found something at the mall in Pasadena, looks like the evil law firm is behind our Santa issue. Angel what is wrong with you, stop hugging me.” Cordelia said, squirming in the vampire’s grip. She wasn’t afraid but this was just weird and not like the broody Angel they all knew and loved.

“I can’t believe that there are so many gifts. I can’t wait to open them and see what I got.” Angel ignored her trying to get out of his arms, and his gaze focused on the tree and the presents underneath.

Cordy turned around in Angel’s grasp and put both hands on his cheeks and turning his head to face her; “Angel snap out of it!”

“Huh?” Angel blinked and then looked into Cordy’s eyes, and released her, surprised he was so close to his seer. Cordy moved away from Angel and went to the tree. Squatting down, Cordelia looked at the presents under the tree reaching down, her hand went right though the packages.

“Angel we have played this scene before, doesn’t this seem familiar to you?” Cordelia as she stood up turned her back on the tree facing Angel.

“Hey are any of those for me?” Angel said coming up to Cordelia, leaning forward looking over her shoulder at the tree. “Aren’t the lights all sparkly?” Angel asked, mesmerized again.

Cordy reached up and put her hands over Angel’s eyes, blocking out the light of the tree.

“Angel you have to listen to me, something is going on, both with this tree and at the mall, something magicy is going on.” Cordelia pleaded.

“Cordy, knock it off!” Angel said trying to pull her hand away, but having no luck, as he didn’t want to hurt her with his vampire strength.

“No we need to talk but not here.” Cordy said firmly, not moving her hand.

“But I want to watch the tree. Plus maybe more presents will appear.” Angel whined.

“I can’t believe you are whining. Okay, I have some presents upstairs that I need you to carry down to the tree will you do that for me?” Cordelia said, putting on her sweetest voice.

Angel nodded his head, more presents sounded like a good idea.

“Alright, why don’t I just lead you to the elevator with your eyes covered? Think of it as hide and go seek for presents.” Cordelia said, not trusting that once he saw the lights of the tree she’d be able to coax him upstairs.

“Okay, but maybe we can open some early?” Angel asked, sounding more like a little kid then she had ever heard.

“Maybe.” Cordelia lied, dragging him over to the elevator while trying to keep his eyes covered. If only she were 4 inches taller.

Cordelia didn’t look back at the tree as she closed the elevator gate and switched the button to get the elevator to rise up. Once it stopped, Cordelia pulled the gate open and dragged Angel out. She backed away from the elevator, heading towards Angel’s office, stopping at the door frame.

“Angel the presents are in here, why don’t you come help me.” Cordy said, wanting to get him away from the tree lights that were leaking their way up the elevator shaft.

Angel opened his eyes and looked at Cordelia, standing in the doorway to his office. She looked like a Christmas angel in her fluffy white angora sweater. He glanced up and saw that she was standing under the mistletoe. With vampire speed he had her in his arms and kissed her for all he was worth.

Cordy struggled at first and then gave into the kiss. Boy could he kiss, but for someone his age, he should be able to kiss.

Angel pulled away, looking down at his Seer. “Uh Cordy, what just happened?”

Cordy gulped and looked up at Angel. “Wow that was just wow. You know how to kiss.” No wonder Buffy dated him.

Angel just smirked, it was purely male pride, but stepped back from Cordelia. Needing a little space himself. Xander was a fool to cheat on her with Willow

“What happened?” He asked again, hoping that the growing space between them would let them think better.

“The magic of the Christmas tree took over again I think.” Cordelia said

Running his hands through his hair, trying to remember what had transpired since the Cordelia had left at dawn. “Presents under the tree and sparkly lights right?” Angel asked.
“Pretty much, and boy were you all grabby hands.” Cordelia said

“Ah..sorry.” Angel shrugged.

“You were at the right place last night.” Cordelia started, changing the subject.

“What did you find today, did anything happen, are you okay?” Angel asked putting his hand on her shoulder, wanting to check her for injuries.

“Nothing happened; just found out that Wolfram & Hart are the generous sponsors of Santa-land at Coronado Plaza Mall. The line was huge, and not even open until after sunset.” Cordelia said, looking up at Angel, not minding his hand on her shoulder.

“We should head up there, now; I can’t believe I missed that sign.” Angel said, moving to grab his keys off the desk.

“Angel, umm…don’t you think you should get dressed?” Cordelia said, glancing up and down at him clad in his burgundy silk robe and black boxers.

“Oh, yeah, absolutely.” He looked down at his outfit, and if he had a pulse, he was pretty sure he would be blushing. He quickly moved past her to the door to the apartment. “Do you think it is okay?” Angel asked before opening the door.

“I was fine this morning once I had been away from the tree for a while. Just use your vamp speed to get down there and don’t look at the tree.

“Right, back in a minute.” Angel said heading down the stairs quickly.

Cordelia leaned against the door jam to the office. What if he gets zapped again, and decides to get all touchy feely? Cordelia looked up at the hanging sprig of mistletoe and decided to wait right where she was for Angel.


“I can’t believe how long this line is to get a picture taken with Santa.” Cordelia said as she and Angel walked towards center court of the mall.

“It was this long last night. Some of the people look familiar.” Angel said scanning the crowd.

“We have to get in there; it has got to be something to do with the Santa.” Cordelia said, looking at the long line wondering how they were going to be able to cut in front of the mob.

“Let’s go around back, maybe we can get in through the back door.” Angel turned and headed for the back of Santa’s workshop.

Angel cracked open the back door to the workshop and looked in; it was a classic scene, a little girl on Santa’s lap, asking for a toy smiling. And an elf behind the camera clicked pictures. Nothing unusual.

“Move Angel, I can’t see” Cordelia whispered against Angel’s back, trying to peak around him to get a glimpse of what was going on.

“Shhh” Angel said, as Cordelia tried to push his shoulder down so she could look over.

The Santa handed the little girl a lollipop and an assistant elf pulled her off his lap.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas Sally.” Santa said as he sent the little girl on her way.

One of the elf’s escorted the little girl and her mother out of the room, with instructions to the mother that she could pick up pictures in an hour on the other side of the workshop.

The other elf, the photographer, went to the door and called for the next, visitor. In walked a man in a suit, an expensive dark suit.

“Lawyer.” Cordelia whispered loudly to Angel.

“Hello Santa.” The lawyer said to Santa.

“Hello Mr. Lee, and what do you want for Christmas?” The Santa asked, there was no joy in his voice like he had with the little girl earlier.

“Well, here is my card.” Mr. Lee said, handing over his business card to Santa. He read it quickly then dropped it into the dark black cauldron slightly behind his chair. The moment it hit the bottom of the pot it smoldered and went up in a strange green flame.

“What do you want?” Santa asked again, he seemed almost glad to be wearing gloves so that he didn’t have to touch the lawyer’s hand.

“I need a scroll, one for my bosses; I think it will move me ahead in the firm.” Mr. Lee said, thinking how he was going to leap frog ahead of both Lindsey and Lilah if he pulled this off.

“There are many scrolls in the world Mr. Lee. Are you looking for one in particular?” Santa asked, glancing around the room, noticing that the back door was cracked open slightly. He twitched his nose and the door closed quietly, preventing the ease droppers from hearing.

“Actually yes a specific scroll, Aberjian.” Mr. Lee replied, wanting to hurry this along.

Santa frowned at the man before him. “And why should you get this scroll, you haven’t exactly been a good boy all year?”

“Well, if you want to get out of here for Christmas Eve, then you will get me what I want.” Mr. Lee didn’t raise his voice, but it was obvious that he was threatening the old man.

“That threat doesn’t scare me.” Santa said to the lawyer.

Mr. Lee smiled and looked at his manicure. “No, it doesn’t does it. How sad do you think it will be that all of those people out there don’t get to celebrate Christmas at home, because they are still in line waiting to see you?”

“I will see all of them, I always do before Christmas eve.” Santa said confidently.

“What if I decide that they need to be donated for another holiday event this year, the Dyjano demons are such good clients, and they are always clambering for the blood of innocents, and you know how hard that is to get.” Mr. Lee said, hitting the old man in the soft spot of his heart.

“I give you this gift, and no one dies this year?” Santa asked.

Mr. Lee smiled, realizing he had won “Of course, we at Wolfram & Hart always keep our word, as long as it suits our current needs.”

Santa closed his eyes and clapped his hands once, then looked up at the evil lawyer. “It is in a box under the first tree at the front of the display.”

“Excellent, I knew you would make the right choice. Merry Christmas Santa.” Mr. Lee said, taking a candy cane out of the jar and walking out the front door of the workshop, humming a Christmas carol.

Mr. Lee opened his phone once he heard the door to the workshop close. “Yes, inform the Senior Partners that I have obtained the Scroll of Aberjian. Oh and please call Lentuck of the Dyjano clan, and let him know that the line is ready and waiting for him, yes in Pasadena.”

Mr. Lee stopped at the first pine tree outside of workshop. The tree shimmered and underneath it appeared a beautifully wrapped box. He bent down and picked up the package. Smiling, as he passed through the crowd waiting to see Santa, continuing to hum the same Christmas song he was humming when he first walked out of the workshop. “Too bad Christmas only comes once a year.”
Meanwhile behind the workshop…

“Angel did you hear what they were planning?” Cordelia asked, as Angel tried again to push open the door.

“It is sealed, I can’t budge it. And I can’t hear through it.” Angel said in a loud whisper.

Cordelia huffed, “So much for vampire super hearing.”


“Well, what do we do now?” Cordelia looked up at Angel.

“I think we need to get in line and see what Santa will bring us for Christmas.”

“That line is probably 5 hours long, we don’t have that kind of time. Something is going to happen tonight. Why don’t we bribe an elf?” Cordelia offered, not enjoying the idea of waiting in line.

“I am out of cash, thanks to decorating the office.” Angel replied, moving his hand to his pocket, protecting his wallet.

“No you aren’t Ebenezer. Hand me a $50.” Cordelia said, holding out her hand.

Angel almost growled at her request. “What are you nuts $50 dollars, that is way to much money.”

“We either wait all night and hope for a cloudy day tomorrow or we jump the line.” Cordelia knew she was going to win this battle.

Angel pulled his wallet out of his pocket and took out the cash she requested. “How did you know I had a fifty dollar bill in my wallet Cordelia?”

“Don’t know, just knew you had cash.” She said taking the money and moving around to the front of the workshop.

Angel followed behind shaking his head.

Cordelia walked up to the elf that was selling the photographs in the back booth.

“Hi, how are you? Any chance you can get us in to see Santa?” She smiled at the boy, one of her melt you with one look smiles.

“I don’t know Miss, the line is fairly long, and if I let you ahead of everyone else I am going to have a riot on my hands.” The teenage boy said, giving a small smile.

“I am sure you have some pull, I mean you must be in charge here, since you handle all the money and the pictures.” Cordelia said, going in for the kill.

“Well, I am the head elf tonight.” The boy beamed.
“I thought so, now please help me and my friend here get in to get one little picture taken.” Cordelia smiled

“I guess so, but you can’t tell anyone else I let you jump the line.” The boy said, coming out from behind the booth and walking towards the back door. “I’ll get you in the back way, but you have to be quick, just one picture.”

“Great, come on Angel.” Cordy said, smiling, slipping the money into her front pocket.

“I want my money back.” Angel growled at her as they approached the back door.

The boy knocked on the door, and then pulled it opened. Angel watched the boy, surprised he could open it when Angel didn’t have the strength.

“Mr. Kringle, can you see these two people now, they are in a bit of a rush.” The boy said poking his head into the workshop.

“Yes Jimmy I can, first come click the picture, then I will find out what they want for Christmas.” Santa said, waving them into the room.

“Please stand on either side, while your quite lovely dear, you are a little old to be sitting on my lap, don’t you think.” Santa said looking a Cordelia.

“We aren’t here for a picture.” Angel said sternly.

“There is always time for a picture. Go ahead Jimmy, click away.”

“He is frowning Mr. Kringle.” Jimmy said, poking his head out from behind the camera.

Cordelia punched Angel in the arm, “Smile you dork.” She said through her teeth, keeping her smile going for the camera.

Angel looked down at her and a small smile crept onto his face. At that instance the flash went off and the picture was taken.

“Very good Jimmy, now why don’t you get those developed.” Santa said, dismissing the boy. Jimmy nodded, pulling the film out of the camera and headed for the back door.

“So, Santa, why are you working for that evil law firm?” Cordelia blurted out almost as soon as the door was shut.

Santa chuckled, not surprised by the question from the brunette. “I don’t work for Wolfram & Hart, Cordelia.”

“Pfft, I can read you know I saw the sign out front, ‘Santa’s Workshop provided due to the generosity of Wolfram & Hart.’” Cordelia folded her arms against her chest, waiting for an answer.

Santa looked at both Cordelia and Angel. “Yes, I know you and Liam are looking for answers, but sometimes it is just about faith. I don’t work for the law firm. I certainly don’t work for evil.”

“Then what do you do, Santa?” Angel asked, deciding how to react to the old man knowing his human name.

“Ah Liam, I try to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for everyone. Not just the good people or evil people. For all people.” Santa said, watching the vampire pace.

“Well, I’m not people.” Angel said, switching into his vamp face, pulling Cordelia behind him.

“You don’t frighten me Liam, I know you have a soul, and you want to do the right thing.” Santa said, really not frightened of the vampire.

“Angel why does he keep calling you Liam?” Cordelia asked to Angel then turned to Santa, “Wait how do you know my name? What is your evil plan?”

“Cordelia be quiet.” Angel said, moving her again behind him, waiting for the old man’s first move. It didn’t come.

“I have no evil plan Cordelia. I was trapped here by the law firm, they cast a spell and I must see everyone in line before I can walk out the door.” Santa said, standing up looking out the window at the long line of people. Shaking his head he turned back around and faced the Champion and his Seer.

“The Senior Partners decided to give the L.A. office the ultimate Christmas present. The trees you see are gift trees, and when a gift is asked of me, I have to give it.” Santa said sadness to his voice. “The people out there are never getting in if they have their way, as I can’t be released until I see the last person in line. The only ones who have gotten in other than you are those holding Wolfram & Hart business cards. This year I have given out more gifts of potential evil than I have in many many centuries.”

Angel looked at the man, he smelled human, and his heart wasn’t racing, he wasn’t lying.

That was when the screaming from outside started. Angel turned followed the sound and saw out the door a group of demons charging the crowd. Children were screaming.

“Cordy stay here!” Angel said as he charged for the door, before exiting he said under his breath. “What I wouldn’t give for a good broadsword right now.”

“Look under the tree at the front of the workshop.” Santa shouted as the vampire ran out of the workshop.

Angel looked down under the first pine tree and saw a glimpse of silver and realized it was the handle to a sword. He reached down and pulled out the sword and smiled, going after the closest demon to him and started battling back the demons.

People were running everywhere, screaming, and demon parts were flying as Angel slashed his way through them. The dust settled and Angel wiped slime off of his leather duster. He had easily killed 10 of the Dijano demons, and the others had run off when it was apparent who would win this battle.

There was no one left in the cue in front of the Workshop except for Peter and his mother. His mother was clutching him to her, having been pushed to the front of the line when the chaos broke out.

Cordelia looked out, greatful that Angel was standing and looked relatively uninjured. She turned and looked at the old man. “Thank you for the sword, it made his job easier.”

“Yes so it seems. Call Peter in, it looks like he is the last in line tonight.” Santa said.

Cordelia looked and saw the boy and his mother standing at the front of the gate, and she waved them in.

The boy ran in and smiled up at Cordelia then went directly to Santa.

“So Peter, what do you want for Christmas this year?” Santa asked.

“Well I really want a puppy, but Mom doesn’t think that is such a good idea. How about an Xbox 360?” Peter asked his eyes wide.

Santa looked over at Peter’s mother and asked a silent question. She nodded her head.

“Well look under the tree as you walk out of here and you will have gotten your wish.” Santa said, handing a candy cane to the small boy.

“Thanks Santa!” Peter said, jumping off Santa’s lap, grabbing his mother’s hand and heading for the door.

Cordelia watched them walk out of the shop and stopping at the pine tree she saw the boy crawl underneath and pull out a small brown puppy. She smiled, now that was a Christmas gift.

“So Cordelia, what do you want for Christmas?” Santa asked.

Cordelia looked out and saw Angel walking towards the workshop, in what appeared to be one piece.

“I already got it Santa, I already got it.” Cordelia smiled and walked out of the workshop.

“How you doing big guy?” Looking over Angel’s torso for gashes, and finding a minimal number, at least at first glance.

“Not to bad, did you see this sword?” Angel asked, holding up the large broad sword, with a gleam in his eye.

“Yes, just want you wanted for Christmas.” Cordelia smiled. She looked back and saw Santa wink at her then disappear in sparkle of white light.

“Do you think?” Angel asked, having seen the same thing that Cordelia saw when Santa disappeared. At that moment the pine trees each popped into white light as well, leaving just a fake looking gingerbread coloured workshop, and a confused looking elf named Jimmy.

“’Tis the season, is what I think Angel.” Cordy said, smiling up at him.

“Hey you guys want your photo with Santa?” Jimmy said coming up to the two, holding out an 8×10 glossy.

Cordelia took the picture and laughed. “I can’t believe it you are almost smiling in this picture Angel. Now why don’t you pay Jimmy so we can go home and get cleaned up.”

“But you have all my cash Cordelia.” Angel said, looking down at the brunette.

“Pfft, you still have a twenty in your wallet, you pay him.” Cordy said, starting to walk towards the parking garage.

Angel growled again and pulled money out of his wallet and shoved it at the kid then stalked after Cordelia.

“Merry Christmas!” Jimmy shouted.

~ * ~

“Angel? Cordelia? Are you down here?” Wesley shouted from the top of the stairs to Angel’s apartment. He made his way down and saw the room full of decorations. It looked like all of the halls were decked. Then he saw a Christmas tree that took up a good share of the back corner of the living room. It twinkled with white lights and had elegant glass ornaments. Underneath the tree were a moderate number of gifts, each beautifully wrapped. Wesley looked down at his hands, greatful he had done some shopping in San Diego before returning to L.A. He walked down the stairs and went to the tree, putting his gifts to Cordelia and Angel under the tree. Turning around he looked and there on the couch was Angel, bandaged on the shoulder and around his ribs. Cordelia was leaning against his undamaged shoulder, a blanket around her legs. Both were sleeping.

Angel was the first to open his eyes, and saw Wesley standing in front of the tree. “Hey Wes, how did it go in San Diego?” Angel’s arm was wrapped around Cordelia’s shoulders, and he pulled her closer as she began to stir.

“Very good, demon virus averted.” Wesley said, turning back to the tree. “It looks as though you were busy, shopping and getting ready for Christmas. I didn’t know that vampires celebrated Christmas.”

“They do this year Wesley.” Cordelia said, and then yawned leaning up from her spot on Angel’s shoulders.

“Happy Christmas Cordelia.” Wesley said, smiling at the brunette.

“Merry Christmas Wesley.” Cordelia smiled. She then looked around him to the tree and saw the presents underneath the tree.

Cordelia pointed to the tree. “Oh no…Angel tell me I am not seeing things again.”

Angel leaned forward and saw the same thing that she did, presents under the tree. Presents that hadn’t been there when the fell asleep after getting back from Pasadena. “I see it too Cordy. Wesley do you see presents under the tree?”

Wesley looked at their strange looks and then turned around and looked at the tree and presents. He reached down and picked up one of the packages. He read the tag then smiled. “Happy Christmas Wesley, from Santa. Okay which one of you are playing Santa?”

Angel and Cordelia looked at each other and both smiled, neither of them answering their friend.

There really is a Santa Claus.




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