The Secret Santa

By Teri

Summary: This Christmas it is time that the gang gets a happy ending? Just my way of wishing everyone Happy Holidays! (Post-Chosen)

Characters: Buffy, Dawn, Giles, Willow, Faith, Xander, and a surprise from the past. (Part 2: Also has Cordy, Wes, and Angel).

Author's Note: I started writing this before Hatten made a challenge, but since this fits his challenge this story is dedicated to him. Since it is Christmas I also want to dedicate this story to two people who make writing fun for me, Candy-Dawn and Paradigm Shifter. Thanks guys for everything. This is also dedicated to all of my usual readers, I thank you all for everything and hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

Disclaimer: I am not the owner of any of the recognizable characters. This story was written for my own amusement and hopefully the enjoyment of others.

* * * * *

Background: Buffy, Dawn, Willow, Xander, and Giles were traveling together all around the American west and mid-west looking for new slayers. Faith, Robin, Rona, Vi, and Andrew were searching in the east and central regions of the States. The group didn't have the resources to even begin thinking about searching anywhere else. They had heard tales of Slayers in Australia, Germany, England, but there was not much they could do about it.

* * * * *

Colorado Springs, Co., November 2003

Xander sat on his bed in the hotel room he was currently sharing with Giles and was watching a Marathon of classic Battlestar Galacticia episodes on the Sci-Fi channel. He was enjoying having the evening to himself.

He smiled.

Willow was off looking at some Indian caves in the "Garden of the Gods" that apparently had some sort of mystical energy she wanted see. It was nice finally seeing her get excited and babbling again.

Giles was in the Girls' room tutoring Dawn as she prepared for her GED.

Buffy, now that thought made Xander grin. Buffy was still over with at the new slayers house. Xander was convinced she was hoping they would adopt her. Cassie had a unique, 'okay' he laughed to himself, she had a scary family - a very scary family. "Nope, the vampires will never even get near her. They will never make it through her Uncles Jack, Murray, and Daniel and that is assuming they can get past her Aunt and her Mother first." Buffy just loved the new crossbow, Cassie's Aunt Sam had designed and she was getting quite the work out from Jack and Murray.

He sat back to relax and enjoy the show. Everyone was safe and happy. There were no immediate threats. Actually, everything was as close to good as it had gotten in over a year. Yeap, nothing would go wrong now, even if it was a Tuesday.

He started to drift to sleep when out of the corner of his eye he saw a swirl of red and green sparks land on the desk.

"Why now?" he whined to himself and he pulled himself up. He walked over to the desk and found a large parchment envelope with gold letters that read "Alexander." He reached for the letter as if it would bite him.

"Aw, this is silly!" He chastised himself as he quickly picked up the letter and opened it quickly as he began to read: "My Dearest Xander, Please come at once."

He read the lines twice. "Is there something wrong? Why would they send for me now?" He muttered to himself. "I guess I better go see what's up." He put the letter in his pocket, placed his hand over the same pocket, and disappeared in a shimmer of red and green sparkles that turned into tiny snow flakes before they hit the rug.

He reappeared in a large, rustic, room. There was a large fireplace with two large chairs in front of it.

As he looked around, he realized that the room was empty. This was where they always were when they sent for him?


"Xander?" He heard his grandmother call from the bedroom. "We're in here."

Xander hurried to follow her voice. They were in the bedroom? It was only afternoon?

"Grandmother?" He queried as he entered the room.

"Xander." She stood from her seat next to the bed and hugged him. However, Xander hardly noticed her as his eyes focused on the person in the bed. He had lost weight, his checks weren't quite so rosy, and the twinkle was gone from his eyes.

"What happened?" He asked.

"Your grandfather is sick." She said even if he had already figured that out for himself. "We'll talk in the other room." She let go of her grandson and checked on her husband pulling up the covers over his long beard before she rejoined her Xander and they left the room.

"I'll asked again. What happened? When I visited last. . . I . . . he . . . " Somehow, thinking of either of his grandparents as frail was just too much for him. "How?"

She sighed evidently having given the matter serious thought. "I think the news you brought this summer was just to much for him. He always felt that as long as your mother was alive there was still a chance for them to reconcile. When you brought word that Jessica died when Sunnydale collapsed. . . . besides he has been worried about you, losing Anya, your home, everything you have ever known."

"I'm sorry"

"Silly boy, it isn't your fault. He will bounce back from this. Just being so sad made him weaker so he was able to get sick. " She smiled this time. "Besides, I maybe worried, but your grandfather is a man and men don't know how to be sick. Now, if it were me, I am sure I would still be up cooking dinner for him and starching his suspenders." She ended with a chuckle.

Xander just gave her a look that said you and I both know Grandpa worships the ground you walk on and if you so much as broke a nail he would send you back to bed.

She nodded her agreement. She knew he was right, but she was trying to convince herself he wasn't sick and there was nothing to worry about.

"Love, I know how you feel about your friends and your 'cause'. I know that is why you didn't come to live with us when we offered, but do you think that this year. . . that you could. . . I know it would be an imposition."

"You want me to fill in for him don't you?" He asked in amazement.


"Temporarily, right? When he gets better, it is his job again, right?" Xander questioned. He needed to be sure before he agreed.

"Yes, love. As much as I would love it if you stayed here, I don't want you to do anything you do not want to do." She assured him as she patted his knee.

"Well, he certainly can't go out in that condition. I guess I don't have a lot of choice, do I?" He glanced back through the bedroom door. "I'll do it."

"Thank you, will you be able to come to stay for the season on soon? We only have a couple of weeks to go and production is down without his keeping on top of things."

Xander smiled. "Sure, I'll come in the morning. I'll just go grab my stuff and tell the others that I had a 'family emergency' and that I will be back in several weeks."

"Come tell your grandfather that you have agreed before you go back." She took his hand and walked with him back into the bedroom.

"Boy?" Called the voice from the bed.

"Yes, Sir?"

"He agreed, dear."

"Glad to hear it. Come here." His grandfather called again sounding pretty weak, yet relieved. "Take my hand."

Xander took the old man's hand. As he did they both began to glow. Light danced in Xander's eyes, two healthy eyes, a sign that he had received his grandfather's powers.

Xander turned to his grandmother and winked at her before disappearing in a swirl of red and green lights of his own creation.

"Aww" His grandmother was almost in tears. "I always knew you would make a fine addition to the family line."

* * * * *

Giles opened the door to his motel room and was surprised. Xander wasn't watching TV.

"Perhaps Xander decided to go for a walk." He decided. He walked over to look out of the window and over at the mountains outside of the window. He turned quickly when he thought he heard the slight sound of bells jingling?

"Xander, I didn't hear you return." Giles was surprised to see Xander standing in the middle of the room. He had replaced his eye patch.

"Well, you know me quiet as a mouse." He ended with a trademark lop-sided grin.

"Quite." He said looking at Xander. Something was up with the boy. "The girls are back from Cassie's house. They decided to order Chinese. We are going to eat in the girl's room." Giles informed him.

"Good there are somethings I need to tell you all tonight, so I am glad we are eating-in."

"What do you need to tell us?" Giles asked. He had been worried about the young man for a while now and worried that soon he would want to branch out on his own. He was sure he would do find, but wasn't so sure if the girls would be fine without him.

"Nah, G-man. Gotta learn patience." He smiled before flopping himself back on the bed to watch Battlestar Galactica.

Giles noticed that the place Xander had been standing was slightly wet and was that a snowflake?

* * * * *

"Can you believe Christmas is in less than a month?" Dawn asked from her spot on the bed. Everyone was perched on the beds, except Giles who was seated in the one motel room chair.

"No, but it doesn't matter much I am not expecting we will have much of a Christmas this year. " Buffy sighed. "Maybe, if we are lucky we will meet up with Faith and Robin."

"Not that I am Christmas girl, Jewish/Wicca, remember? But, we could always go celebrate with Angel and Wes." Willow added, but it was clear that neither Buffy or Giles relished the idea of spending time with Angel. Buffy because she wasn't baked yet, whatever that meant, and Giles because he still had trouble facing Angel.

"Christmas isn't about where you are." Xander smiled at his girls and Giles. "It's about family and that is us. So why don't you all tell me what you really want this year. I think I have Christmas shopping to do."

"Well, I would like Justin Timberlake's phone number." Dawn said getting excited. "I could also use a new CD player and I would like CD's from . . . " She prattled on, but thought to herself. 'I want Buffy to be the way she use to be. I want somewhere to call home. I want us to be a family not always looking for new slayers.'

As Dawn finished she looked up at Xander and his eye seemed to twinkle. To her surprise he winked at her. It was almost as if he heard what she really wanted. 'Well of course he knew. He's the one who sees'. 'I see more because nobody is watching me.' She remembered him telling her.


"Xander you know I don't do Christmas." She took that annoyed you know I am teasing, but I have to take a stand anyway look. Like Dawn, she allowed herself to voice, if only to herself, what she really wanted. 'I just want someone to love me for me-Willow, not the wonder witch like Kennedy did. I want someone who can accept the things I did and love me anyway.'

"I know you do Willow." Xander said, but somehow she wasn't sure he was talking about her claim that she didn't do Christmas. 'Silly thought.'


"To paraphrase Faith 'It's all good'. We are all here together finding the new slayers and waging the war on evil. What more do I need?" She continued quietly to herself. 'It's not like I would like to be normal, have a home, give Dawnie a real chance. No, I wouldn't want that at all.'

"G-Man ?"

"Xander, . . ."

"How many times have I asked you not to call me that infernal nickname." Xander and Dawn finished with Giles. Even Willow joined in at the end. All three ended in giggles. Even Buffy was working hard to suppress a chuckle.

Giles smiled. "Well, I suppose there are a few books. I would like, there is . . . . " 'I want my children to be happy and safe.' Giles looked around the room at the four young adults, his children, and felt nothing but paternal pride and love.

"We might be able to arrange a few of those."

Giles blinked. He was sure for a moment he saw lights dancing in Xander's eye. It made him feel like he might get that happy ending for his girls. 'Wishful thinking.'

"Guys, I . . . ah. . . have something to tell you." Now the light was gone from his eyes and he found the pattern of the bedspread he sat on more interesting than looking at his friends.


"I've got somethings I need to take care of. I'll be gone for awhile. I will catch up to you all. I am not leaving, least not permanently." He managed to babble without taking a breath.

"Why?" Dawn and Willow asked at the same time.

"Sorta a family emergency."

"Oh, your parents call you to their new home?" Buffy said off-handedly. "Must be nice to have family you can turn to."

"No, Buff. I haven't se. . . . It's my grandparents. My grandfather is sick and my grandmother has asked for my help." He decided he didn't want to get into a fight with her.

"Buffy?!" Willow called. Dawn looked horrified.

Xander waived them off. "Don't worry about. She didn't know. Buff, my parents died with Sunnydale."

"Oh. Sorry." Buffy bit her bottom lip. "So, Grandparents huh? Didn't know you had any?" Buffy said feeling bad.

Xander just started laughing while Buffy looked at him like he had a screw loose.

"You can't help yourself can you?" Willow asked. "Of course he has grandparents or did you think I grew him in my backyard?"

"I ah, that isn't what I meant." She pouted slightly.

"I know you didn't mean it that way Buffy. It just struck me funny." Xander smiled. "I do know honest. I only met them a few years ago. My mother had forbidden them to see me as a child. Don't let it worry you Buff; I am not offended. Besides, for a long time I did think Willow grew me in her backyard."

Dawn swatted him for that comment.

"So, your Gran needs you to help out? Willow clarified.

"Exactly." Xander smiled. "I'll be back. I promised."

"You aren't in some kind of trouble are you?" Giles asked worried there was more going on than what was being said.

"No, not in trouble," he answered aloud, but muttered to himself, "not unless you count the fact that I am in w-a-y over my head."

* * * * *

The Secret Santa

Chapter 2: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Several weeks later, Christmas Eve, 2003

"It was nice of Cassie's Aunt Samantha to suggest we house sit for her brother Mark while they are away on vacation." Buffy smiled. "We are all together for the holidays."

"Not all." Willow said thinking of Xander.

Dawn frowned as well.

"Faith and Robin had a long drive and we have a big day planned for tomorrow. I recommend we all get some sleep."

"Giles! It's Christmas Eve shouldn't we at least read 'Twas a Night before Christmas' or something?" Dawn almost whined.

"Oh you mean 'An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas' by Major Henry Livingston, Jr.?" He paused. "All right," he smiled. He was surprised when everyone in the house joined him and Dawn in the reading. Buffy and Willow were each curled on the floor by Dawn drinking hot chocolate and Faith and Robin were cuddled on the couch.

Giles began to read:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there;

Dawn glanced over where their stockings had indeed been hung with care.

All were tired and settled into bed,

Good dreams danced in their heads;

Giles poured a night cap,

Ready for a long winter's nap,

"I don't remember this version G?" Faith asked.

"Artistic license." Giles groused, "and wishful thinking," as the rest of the room laughed.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

He sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

"Giles, English please." Buffy joked.

Giles pinched the bridge of his nose, "threw up the sash, lifted the window."

Buffy smiled at Willow who just chuckled. With Xander gone someone had to annoy Giles.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to his wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,

With a driver, so lively and quick,

He guessed in a moment if must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Now Dasher, Now Dancer, Now Prancer and Vixen!

On Comet, On Cupid, On Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!

Giles looked up and realized that everyone had fallen asleep. He had told them it was time for bed, he thought with a chuckle. He made sure that they were each covered before turning in to bed himself. He started up the steps, then smiled to himself as he turned around and settled himself for sleep in the chair amidst his family.

* * * * *

Giles woke up. Everything was dark. He had heard 'a clatter'?

Giles slowly opened his eyes and heard something on the roof.

It sounded like the prancing and pawing of a reindeer hoof?

As he drew a breath and turned his head around,

Someone stood in the chimney, not making a sound.

The man was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of gifts he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes – how they twinkled, his dimples how merry.

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

All the beard of his chin was white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held in his teeth,

And the bubbles he blew encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And Giles laughed when he saw him, in spite of himself;

An oddly familiar wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon Giles knew he had nothing to dread;

The man spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But Giles heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to All, and to all a Good Night!"

Giles could hardly believe what he saw he turned away from the window to see if the others saw what he saw, when he realized that no one else was awake. He sat back in his chair and reviewed what transpired. It was all familiar somehow.

He glanced to the book on the table, "Twas the Night Before Christmas". He laughed at himself. He had fallen asleep and dreamed it all. He closed his eyes to go back to sleep convinced that it all had been a dream.

* * * * *

The Secret Santa

Chapter 3: Miracle on 31st Street

In the morning, Faith was the first to awaken. She tried hard to cover, but this was the first Christmas in more than a decade that was worth celebrating. She nudged Robin who just groaned and rolled over.

Faith got up and noticed that the room was full of presents. She must have been tired to have slept through it all.

The others slowly awoke and gathered around. Each believing the other must have played Secret Santa although no one admitted to buying any of the presents.

There were books and amulets, but also laptops, CD's, coats, blouses, and shoes.

When they were done with the presents they moved on to the stockings.

Faith went first. In her stocking was an envelope, "Office of the Governor of California" She opened the letter and found a pardon for her, signed by the Terminator himself. She didn't have to worry about going back to jail. She was no longer an escaped felon. It was the best gift she could have gotten. Still no one took responsibility for the gift.

Willow went next. It had a simple note in it. "You will find what you seek, soon, and when you least expect it. The past can lead to the future." She had no idea what it meant, even after all these years she still didn't read cryptic.

Dawn opened hers next. There was a short letter. "Dawn, I don't have Justin's phone number, but I do have his private e-mail for you alone. As for your other wish, keep your eyes open it is coming." What other wish, Buffy wanted to know, but Dawn kept it to herself.

Giles opened his next, inside was an envelope with his name written in Gold. He opened the envelope and it had a message. "Be at 1225 Holly Berry Lane at 2:00 p.m. Today. Bring the whole gang." There was a small map folded in the envelope that showed the location as being about 30 miles from where they were staying, near the outskirts of the old Sunnydale.

The group was confused. Only Buffy was left. She opened hers and found two old spells. She couldn't read them and handed them to Willow and Giles. One would allow her to retain her strength and healing, but allow her to effectively retire from slaying. Demons and such would no longer recognize her as a slayer. The second spell, was more a gift for all of them, it would allow them to restore the slayer line to Faith as it had been before. Just one slayer. No more searching and traveling. At the same, time it changed the slayers power from darkness to light as it had originally been planned.

The whole group was estactic and prepared to see just what was at 1225 Holly Berry Lane.

* * * * *

"Giles, are we almost there yet?" Buffy asked in a whiney voice.

"No Buffy." He sighed.

A few minutes later, Dawn asked. "Are we there yet Giles?"

"No Dawn, not yet." Poor Giles sighed again.

In another few minutes. "Hey, G? We there yet?" Faith asked suppressing a chuckle.

"No Faith we most certainly are not there yet.

A few minutes later, Willow began, "Giles . . . " but, Giles cut her off.

"Willow we are not there yet and I promise I will let you know when we arrive."

"I only wanted to know if I could change the radio station." She explained as she dug her hand into her leg to stop from laughing.

Later, Giles turned the car onto Holly Berry lane and the group immediately noticed a duplex (single home divided into two distinct living areas) for with a "Sold" sign out front and a Scooby Doo Flag. The address was 1225. They pulled the car in front of the house. It was beautiful. Just the sort of place they all wished they could live in.

"Buffy, do the presents this morning mean we can settle in one place?" Dawn asked scared the answer would be no.

Instead, Buffy smiled as if she just figured out the answer for the first time. "Yeah, Dawn, I think it does."

Dawn leaned over and hugged Buffy.

Giles who had seen the scene in the rearview as he got out of the car smiled.

A woman came hurrying out of one of the front doors and approached Giles.

"Mr. Giles?"


"I am Carol Nicholson. I am the realtor. I have all of the paperwork ready for your signatures. I trust that these are the Summers ladies as well as Miss Rosenberg?"


"Good." She smiled brightly at Giles. "If you will follow me I will give you the tour."

"I don't mean to be rude, but why? What is going on?" Giles asked.

"I am sorry Mr. Giles, I thought you knew. Welcome to your new home."

Giles and the girls exchanged glances. They walked towards the house. "There are two distinct houses here and each house has a separate garage with individual apartments over them. The portion to the right is the home that is listed in the name of you, Mr. Giles. as well as Miss Buffy and Miss Dawn Summers. I was told that the apartment on your side would belong to a Miss Faith Tasker-Wilkins. The other house is going to be co-owned by Miss Rosenberg and another gentleman."

"Me and Xander?" Willow was pleased that Xander was being included.

Carol frowned to herself. The name Xander was not mentioned to her, but she kept it to herself.

"Miss Nicolson, was It?"

"Ms., yes?"

"Ms., sorry. Who did this? Who paid for the house?"

"I am sorry I am not at liberty to say. They only message I had for you was 'Merry Christmas.' "

"I don't care," Dawn was happy. "I just want to see it."

They all went in and looked at the first half of the house. It looked like it was decorated in a mix of Joyce and Giles' style of decorating. There were three bedrooms on the second floor one for Buffy, Dawn, and Giles. The first floor had a large kitchen and family room. The basement was large apparently the wall separating Willow's basement and Buffy's had been knocked down. There was a large training area, a cage, and a huge library.

Dawn ran back upstairs followed by Buffy. She ran into the kitchen and flung open a cabinet and began to smile. "Now I know this is our home."

"How?" Buffy asked confused.

"Xander always said a house wasn't a home until it had a box of Twinkies in the cupboard and here it is." Dawn showed Buffy the box of Twinkies.

Buffy rolled her eyes with a smile. "A very Xander-like thing to say."

Willow walked up behind them. "Let's go see my side."

"What about Giles and Faith?" Dawn asked.

"Faith, went to see her place." Willow answered and Buffy continued, "and I doubt we will see Giles for a while. We lost him in the library."

The girls went over to see the other side. The living room was very simple and the kitchen was the same as Buffy's. Upstairs their was a huge master bedroom and two other bedrooms that were empty, but had signs that said for future use. They went downstairs and Willow noticed that her television had a DVD player attached. There was one DVD sitting on top of the machine. "A Charlie Brown Christmas." She nearly lost it.

"Buffy, Dawn, look," She waived the DVD at them. "Could Xander have arranged all of this?"

Buffy and Dawn exchanged glances before Dawn answered. "There were Twinkies in our cabinets."

They didn't get any further when the door opened. It was Carol and someone else who was still blocked by the door.

"Yes, I don't know what this is about. I was only told that you would receive half ownership interest in this unit."

As they continued to walk in the person with Carol became obvious.



Carol smiled. "Well I am glad you know each other since you will be sharing this house. I assume Mr. Giles is downstairs. Please excuse me. Miss Summers and well, Miss Summers, we need to take care of the paperwork." So the three of them left.

"How?" Was all Willow could manage.

"I woke up this morning. There was this amulet that allows me full control over myself and there was this address with a note that said, 'It's time, She needs you.' So here I am. How are you here?"

"I don't . . . " Willow started to answer, but then remembered what she really wanted for Christmas. She wanted someone who could love her as Willow not the wonder witch. She knew Oz could, he had before. She also wanted someone who could except the evil in her life, again, Oz knew what it was like to lose control. He really was what she had wanted for Christmas. 'The past shall lead to the future,' the note had said. She looked up at him and smiled. "I think this is our Christmas present. I don't understand it all yet, but I think we are meant to be here together right now. Will you please stay?"

Oz looked at her as if trying to read her soul. He had never stopped loving her. Could she love him again? "I'll stay."

They spent the rest of the afternoon finishing up paperwork. Never so happy to deal with red tape as they were now.

* * * * *

The Secret Santa

Chapter 4: He sees you . . .

Later that day,

Dawn was listening to the radio. All Christmas music all the time.

She remembered last year when she and Xander were alone with Buffy and she was practicing her faculty talent on them. She sang a Christmas Song, that was just perfect for her. She smiled. She and Xander had a lot of fun that day. She remembered last Christmas as the song played. (see ) Dawn smiled, that had been a lot of fun. She was glad the radio played that to remind her.

The next song was "You better Watch Out." As she listened something started to nag at her.

You better watch out,
You better not cry,
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He's making a list,
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out
Who's naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

Oh, you better watch out!
You better not cry.
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
Santa Claus is coming to town!

"That's it!!!" She said to herself. "He sees you . . . He knows . . . Santa is the one who sees!!! How else had everything happened today, down to the Twinkies, the 'Charlie Brown Christmas', Oz, and the house and the normal life it promised."

* * * * *

Secret Santa 2:

Lost in Los Angeles

Elsewhere on Christmas Day . . .

Cordelia Chase was laying in bed, still in a coma with little hope of waking-up.

Beside her slept two men, who had nothing better to do than to spend Christmas with their family, which meant Christmas in this room with her.

Angel woke-up to see a man standing in the door way, he was dressed like Santa Claus.

Wes woke to Angel's chuckling.

"What can we do for you, St. Nick?" Angel laughed as he spoke.

"I'm here to answer a Christmas wish."

"Don't tell me you think you are really THE Santa Claus." Angel stopped smiling. Noticing that the man's cheeks were quite rosy, and his eyes did twinkle.

"Santa Claus is nothing more than a demon. It was suspected even before Anyanka confirmed it." Wes reminded him.

"Anya," He chuckled to himself not heard by the others. She would have said that. "A demon, huh?" He laughed good and hearty. "Perhaps so, perhaps not."

Angel stood up and pulled on his beard like an inquisitive little child.

"Ouch, watch the whiskers deadb. . . dead dead hair falls out, be careful." He tried to cover, luckily for some reason Angel didn't seem to notice. 'Christmas Magic what a blessing.'

Wesley ever practical, "what Christmas wish is it that you wish to bring us?"

Santa smiled. He handed Angel a small photo album. "He's happy. You did the right thing." Angel looked down and saw pictures of Connor growing up and having a happy Christmas.

"Thank you."


Angel waived Wes off as he studied the photos.

Santa turned to Wes. "You are a tough one. You play everything so close to the vest, but I know what you want." He turned and looked at Cordelia. "You want the your family healthy and happy. Give me a few minutes alone with her please?"

"I don't know." Wes began. However, the pictures had convinced Angel of the stranger's good intentions. "A few minutes won't hurt come-on Wes." The two left them alone.

When the door shut, Santa started to shimmer with red and green flashes. He became thinner and the beard disappeared. His hair became darker and he looked all of 20-something. Standing there in the middle of the room was Xander Harris in a Santa suit three sizes too big. He walked over to her bed and sat down.

"I can't leave you along for a minute, can I?" He smiled at her as he brushed a lock of hair off her face.

"It is time to come back to your family Cordelia." He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead as she started to shimmer with red and green lights. Suddenly, her eyes flew open with a gasp.


He smiled mischievously at her as he placed a finger to his mouth as he was quickly replaced with the image of Santa.

"Our secret." He winked at her. "Merry Christmas and welcome back. Now when I go I think two gentleman are waiting for you. Call for them." He put his finger to his nose and disappeared in a flash of red and green sparkles that turned to snowflakes as they landed.

"Well I'll be. I use to take Santa into the janitor's closet. No wonder I was in a coma." She smiled before shrugging it off. She had more important things to take care of then the big goof. "Hey Guys!"

The two flew into the room.

"Cordelia!!!" "Cordy!!!"

It was a Happy Christmas in Los Angeles.

* * * * *

I wanna be Santa Claus,
I wanna get all the toys.
Just like Santa Claus I'd give them away
To all the girls and boys.

Then if I could be Santa Claus,
Coming through for ev'ryone
And the gifts that I'd bring could make your heart sing,
We'd have so much fun.

Santa Claus is someone who comes just once a year,
But I could be there ev'ry day, bringing Christmas cheer.

I wanna be Santa Claus,
I wanna ride in the sleigh.
Then I'd fly through the air
And catch you a star tonight for Christmas day.

Santa Claus is someone who comes just once a year,
But I could be there ev'ry day, bringing Christmas cheer.

If I could be Santa Claus,
I'd make ev'ry dream come true
And sign ev'ry card exactly the same
With love from me to you.

Merry Christmas Everybody! I hope you have a happy and safe holiday!!

~Teri () 12/23/03