Title: The Angelus and Methos Christmas Special
Author: Carole
Author's Email: kronos999@yahoo.ca
Fandom: Angel/Highlander Xover
Pairings: Angelus/Methos
Characters: Angelus, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn, Methos
Date: (c) December 30, 2000
Rating: R
Warnings: Implied slash, some violence
Disclaimers: They aren't mine. I can wish. Angelus and
crew belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Methos
lets R:P/D think that they own him.
Author's Notes: I would like to thank both Killaria and
Theresa for betaing. They did an amazing job and all
remaining mistakes are my own. And thanks to Horton's
Second Cousin for listening to me babble on while trying
to get this story straight.

*...* around a sentence denotes thoughts. *...* around a word denotes emphasis.

THERE IS NO CHARACTER DEATH! Please remember
this as you read, no matter how things may seem at the
time.

****2nd Place in the AngelXoverSlash Chistmas Contest****

The Angelus and Methos Christmas Special
========================================

"Is it just me, or has Angel been acting a little strange
lately?"

"Strange? What do you mean exactly?" Wesley replied.
Cordelia was up to something, he knew that already. The
slightly over dramatized concern was obvious in her voice.
Not that her concern wasn't real, it probably was, but
he knew with clear and utter certainty - the kind that
assured you that a family member who doesn't really like
you that much is going to send you the fruitcake that you
gave them last year as a gift type of certainty - that
she was going to wheedle and coax him into doing
something for her. *Bloody hell, it's the day before
Christmas. I *might* have plans,* he thought.

"He's been acting dark, broody, you know..."

"Since when is that unusual?"

"Well, broodier then normal. *And* then there's the strange
hours he's been keeping."

"Strange? He's a vampire. Strange hours are what they do."

"Do I get a sense that you have no concern whatsoever
about what could happen to him?" She smiled and Wesley
knew that she was about to play her trump card. "I will say
two words: Paid vacation. He actually offered us paid
vacation! Not that I mind, but he seemed in such a hurry to
get rid of us. Right now he could be suiciding on some
demon that he's decided to fight all by himself and we'd
never know."

"Wouldn't you have had a vision about something like that?"
Wesley responded dissmissively. He assumed that the
Powers That Be would let Cordelia know if their Champion
was in any danger. It only made sense, after all. Then
again, do the Powers ever really make much sense? "I
thought he was being a nice guy by letting us off for a few
days until we were needed."

"Maybe he wouldn't tell us that we were needed until it was
too late. Right now he's probably sitting in that hotel alone,
feeling unloved. It's Christmas and he hasn't got a soul in
the world that cares enough to visit him. No family, since he
killed them all, and no friends really. While he may be a
nice guy, since when does he have the money to pay for us
to take time off?"

Wesley shook his head. There was no stopping Cordelia
when she got an idea in her head. "What do you want me
to do?" he asked in a resigned tone.

"I knew you'd see things my way. I thought we'd go and
cheer him up; get some Christmas-like things, decorate
the lobby, sing carols, do generally cheery stuff and make
sure he has no thoughts about placing himself in the way
of certain death."

*It might be our certain deaths,* Wesley thought to himself
tiredly. "And?" he asked, knowing there had to be
something more.

"Well, we kinda need the Christmas supplies to do the
decorating. So you're going to come with me and we'll go
and buy some somewhere and..."

"Why do you need me?"

"Um, I need a man's opinion. I supposed that you would
qualify in a pinch. If I'm wrong - well, we don't need to go
into that."

"I know you're not doing this just for the pleasure of my
company or for my opinion. You don't have much cash do
you? You're just trying to drag me along to foot the bill!
There is no way I'm doing this so you can spare your
wallet!"

"I have some. Enough to split the bill, especially with the
last minute bargains." She glared at him, then stared at her
feet. "Fine, the real reason that I need you to go with me is
that I don't know what to get Angel as a present. I could
really use your advice." The next look she sent could
have shattered glass. "The only present that comes to mind
for him is a paint set."

Wesley choked. Cordelia ignored him. He coughed several
times trying to regain his composure. Realizing that he
could drop dead and no help from Cordelia would be
forthcoming, he looked at her in disgust. "Yes, um, I'm
fine," he assured her, somewhat sarcastically.

"So, are we going already?" Cordelia replied nonchalantly.
What did she care if Wesley choked to death? As long as
he got himself to the mall - dead, alive - it was all the same
to her.

***

Angelus looked down at the sleeping form lying in his bed,
mimicking the perfection of a marble statue. *Someone is a
bit worn out,* he thought with a grin. Still, there was much to
be said for immortal stamina, even if it couldn't outlast a
vampire.

He stood, stretched and walked to the shower. So far he'd
had a week of soulless bliss and no one was the wiser.
For a few days he'd waited anxiously for a vision to come
and warn Cordelia, but nothing had happened.
It seemed that even the Powers could be fooled with the
proper pretense. This time he wasn't going to get caught in
the act. No torn out hearts, no envelopes containing dead
goldfish, no posing and mocking his ex-friends
while acting evil and menacing. This time he was going to
achieve his goals, then mock them. Put bluntly, hell sucked,
and there was no way he was going to get sent back there
if he could help it. Angelus had never been accused
of stupidity; he could learn from his mistakes, especially
when pressed by necessity and circumstance.

Oh, and such pleasant circumstances! In less than five
years, Angel, his Soul-Boy alter-ego, had managed to lose
his soul twice. Angelus knew that he would have to keep
his "friends" in the dark this time; he had to act broody
and guilt-ridden, say some regular Angel-type stuff to keep
up the pretense. *And* refrain from killing them, at least
until the little ex-Watcher could tell him about the location of
certain relics that could serve his purpose. The Scourge of
North America didn't have the same ring as the Scourge of
Europe, but getting there could be fun.

He let the warm water caress his skin like Methos had
been doing a little while before and thought of how things
had gotten to this point. It had started three weeks ago
when his goody two shoes alter ego had rescued a
seemingly poor and hapless student. Who would have
thought that as a thank you Angel would let the student take
him out for a drink? And that they'd keep meeting and
talking? And that Angel would fall in love?

***

Wesley held in a sigh and muttered phrases under his
breath that didn't bear repeating in front of an audience.
This seemed to be the thousandth store they had visited
and it turned out that he was, apparently, Cordelia's
personal shopping cart. At least they had already found the
tree - a scraggly, pathetic looking specimen that had been
really cheap simply because no one else had even
considered buying it.

"Ooohh! What do you think?" Cordelia held the item up for
his inspection. So far, every time she had asked his
opinion she hadn't listened to a word he had said, but this
time he just had to put in his two cents.

"No way. You are not serious. Please tell me you're not
serious."

"But they're so cute! And cheery - we can't forget cheery.
They even blink in time to the music."

The box of singing Christmas lights blinked at Wesley, as if
it were daring him to try to convince Cordelia that, no, Angel
wouldn't be terribly happy to have them arranged all over
the hotel. More likely the lights would drive Angel into a
homicidal rage, as they would do to anyone who listened to
the annoying singing for extended periods of time.

"I'm not sure that we can afford them." There, that was a
reasonable argument. Wesley resisted the urge to rub his
temples and pinch the bridge of his nose. It wasn't that
difficult to resist, especially since his hands were full of
bags of cheery, if slightly defective, Christmas decorations.

***

Angel had been so careful. He just couldn't seem to stop
himself and, although he had always meant to say no, he
ended up seeing Adam again. And again. And again.
Despite the obvious interest on both sides, Soul-Boy had
ignored the possibility of a relationship after what
happened with Buffy. Wouldn't want to be happy, now would
we? All of his good intentions were gone in a single
moment of absolute acceptance.

Angel couldn't avoid telling Adam the truth. He had to let
him know what he was, what he'd done. Adam hadn't even
blinked. Instead, he'd held Angel closer and confessed to
crimes more ancient than Angel had even thought
possible. Adam had even trusted him with his true identity.
Methos. A 5000 year old immortal. They'd only just met, but
it was almost like destiny and the cliche of love at first sight.
Or first demon. Whatever. And, just for an instant, Angel had
been happy about that trust; that someone actually cared
for him with no reservations.

"Are you okay?" Adam, or rather Methos, had asked in
concern when Angel had clutched at his head in pain.

"Fine," Angelus had answered leaning even closer to his
companion. A wiser and more devious Angelus than before
had been freed and this Angelus wasn't going to waste the
opportunity to exploit five thousand years of willing
experience.

***

"Wesley, stop whining. We only have to get one more thing,
then we're done."

"That's what you said three stores ago."

"It's a tough decision. Angel's difficult to buy for. That's why I
brought you along."

Wesley was doubtful, but he kept his mouth shut. He
suspected that his true purpose was to cart everything
around as Cordelia darted from store to store like a
hummingbird in a flower garden. He attempted to
straighten himself without dropping a load of Christmas
decorations that was so large, it would have made Saint
Nicholas proud.

Crash

"Ouch ...," Wesley exclaimed in pain. He continued to mutter
things about the parentage and the sexual habits of the
plastic mistletoe that had fallen out of the bag and caused
him to trip. He barely resisted the urge to get up and grind
the damn thing into the floor.

"Wesley! Are the decorations alright?"

"I'm fine, thank you," Wesley answered sarcastically. "I think
I've pulled a muscle in my back. Give me a second."

Amazingly enough, he felt better already. It might have been
due to the fact that the Christmas supplies were scattered
all over the floor.

***

Angelus deepened the kiss as Methos opened his eyes
and moaned greedily.

"Not as tired as I thought, are you?"

"With you, never." A hand reached around Angelus and
pulled him down.

***

"I can't believe you dropped everything! Did you see the way
everyone was looking at us?"

Wesley ignored the commentary. He'd been forced to
endure Cordelia's prattle since he had retrieved all the
items that had tumbled to the floor. Unfortunately, the
singing lights had survived the impact and so had the can
of fake snow, though it was dented from where he had
fallen on it.

Cordelia's voice broke off suddenly. "That's it. It's perfect. It's
happy, it's cheery..."

Wesley stared in horror. She couldn't seriously be
considering *that* as a present. Cordelia noticed his
unbelieving gaze.

"Well, what else can we get him? Toe socks?" Cordelia
asked him in consternation.

"Actually, that would be a fairly reasonable idea. I've heard
that a vampire's feet can get quite chilled when they're out
fighting the forces of evil..."

***

"Angel! We know you're up there." The voice was faint,
having to pass through the walls and over the sound of the
shower running.

Angelus should have known that something like this was
going to happen. He supposed that the best thing to do
would be to get rid of his annoying visitors quickly. He had a
lot of *plans* for today and it was annoying to have them
interrupted.

The pounding at the door would have to be Cordelia. He
considered going out and ripping her head off in the joyous
holiday spirit, but realized that the gratuitous violence would
make Wesley slightly suspicious. *Perhaps if I ignore them,
they'll go away,* he thought to himself tiredly.

The noise ceased momentarily as both the pounding and
the shower ended simultaneously. But then Cordelia's
unique voice pierced the silence. "If I have to hold you at
stakepoint, I'm going to cheer you up. I know you're in
there! I heard the water running!" There was a few more
minutes of near absolute quiet, but for the rustling of
towels.

"It's Christmas Eve, Angel. You're not allowed to sit in there
by yourself and brood." That was all the warning Angelus
had before the door to his room was opened, and in came
Cordelia on a mission. At just the same moment, Methos
exited the bathroom wearing only a towel wrapped around
his waist. Cordelia saw him and blinked in astonishment.

"Oh." She blinked again and repeated the syllable. This
obviously had not been what she was expecting.

***

"Angel! We know you're up there." Cordelia walked up the
stairs resolutely with Wesley close behind her. She
knocked loudly on the door, hoping that Angel would get the
hint and get out of the shower. She stopped knocking
when the water stopped running and waited, tapping her
foot impatiently.

"Even if I have to hold you at stakepoint, I'm going to cheer
you up. I know you're in there! I heard the water running!"

There was no answer. She just knew his plan was to keep
quiet in the hope that she would leave. But there was no
way she was going to let all of her hard work go to waste.
"It's Christmas Eve, Angel," Cordelia called out. "You're not
allowed to sit in there by yourself and brood."

Wesley stepped back, unconsciously trying to get away
from the imagined wraith of the man behind the door.
Cordelia jiggled the doorknob. The door was unlocked, so
she opened it and stepped inside.

Angel was standing in the middle of the room, glaring at
her in an almost menacing way. Then, out of the bathroom
walked a half-naked, wet, well-muscled man. It was the guy
she had seen in her vision a few weeks back. He definitely
looked better without that sweater he had been wearing.
Her thoughts raced. There was no way that this was what
she thought it was.

"Oh," she muttered in confusion. Angel? Gay? She couldn't
help but blink to see if her eyes were deceiving her. "Oh."
Well, she had spent the entire morning with Wesley, going
from store to store for Angel's sake. There was no way that
this turn of events was going to stop her.

"Well," she swallowed, then gathered her composure, "I
have spent the entire morning searching for the perfect
thing to cheer you up. I have been picturing you here all by
yourself, lonely and suicidal and here you are hardly either.
How could you? Don't you dare start being happy. I even
went to Walmart. Walmart! Me! YOU let me think that you
were depressed and the whole time you were just fooling
around on the side. Couldn't have dropped any hints, like,
'Oh, don't visit me on Christmas, I'm having someone over'.
So, this is all your fault." She brandished the nutcracker that
somehow found its way into her hand threateningly.

***

After the slightly confused speech from Cordelia, Angelus
promptly found his life threatened by a woman with a
nutcracker - that is, before she sweetly turned to Methos
and invited him along for whatever it was that she had
planned. Angelus suspected that this was going to be a
very long day. Good thing they couldn't make him go
caroling or anything, since the daylight would turn him into
a rather toasted vampire.

At least she hadn't tried to stake him. Death by nutcracker
would be rather embarrassing. He paused by the door for
as long as possible before following Methos downstairs.
There was no sense tempting himself with opportunities to
do away with them any more than he had to.


His first thought upon viewing the lobby was, *Gods, that's
the ugliest tree I've ever seen.* It was in a corner, held
upright by some very creative maneuvering of furniture and
boxes. Methos was very carefully helping to string lights
around it so that it wouldn't collapse on him.

"There, I think that's got it," he heard the ancient say.
Cordelia plugged the lights in with a flourish and they
immediately began to blink and emit high pitched noises
meant to resemble carols. The noise caused Angelus to
grind his teeth. His first instinct was to rip the tree up and
destroy the source of his pain, but settled for Wesley quickly
pulling the plug.

"Now what we really need is some snow." Cordelia pulled
out a slightly dented canister as he walked closer.

"Are you sure that's a good idea? I don't know if that stuff is
meant to be used on Christmas trees. Isn't it meant for
windows?" Wesley's comments fell on deaf ears, and
everyone removed themselves from Cordelia's path as
soon as they possibly could.

Cordelia began a slightly muddled version of Oh,
Christmas Tree, occasionally mixing up the words as she
continued to spray.

"Oh, Christmas tree. Oh Christmas tree.. Um..how does it
go again..Your beauty lasts forever... Well, isn't anyone
going to help me sing?" she asked indignantly.

Everyone reluctantly began to sing. Or at least Wesley and
Angelus started; Methos simply started laughing. The trio
glared at him.

"What?" he asked disingenuously.

"Do I get the idea that you don't like our singing?" Angelus
asked.

"Not at all. I find if very amusing."

Wesley glared. "Angel, where did you pick up this oh so
*amusing* fellow?"

***

*Oh, Angel, you have to be the one to put the angel on the
top.* The sarcasm was obvious, even in mental
commentary. Angelus balanced himself precariously on the
chair, attempting to avoid the tree "stand" and the
excessively used fake snow. *Snow? Who needs snow?
Wait, almost got it. I'm going to kill her slowly and painfully.
Or, perhaps quickly and immediately, or at least as soon as
I get off this damn thing.* He carefully placed the slightly
beaten angel on the top bough. *There. Done.* His mission
accomplished, he began to step down as the triumphant
group plugged in the lights. Unfortunately, the cord tried its
best to move through his improvised step ladder on its
journey.

The next thing Angelus knew, a mixture of branches and
blinking colours was dancing before his eyes. He was in
pain, as well, from said branches and crushed
decorations. He rolled away from the debris of what had
been the tree--using the term loosely--and attempted to get
up. The first thing he noticed was that getting up was
impossible because he was now tied up in the lights; the
second thing was that the lights were still on and singing,
and that he had fake snow in his mouth.

"Pwahhh! Thwoo!" He spit out the foul-tasting stuff as fast
as possible and struggled against his confinement. That
only succeeded in making it worse. It was then that he
looked up to see his companions whose expressions were
vacillating between concern and laughter. Even Methos
was trying hard to keep a straight face.

*That bastard! I will kill them all. Including him. I don't need
them, I don't need him, even if the sex is good! Okay, the
sex is great, but...*

"Damn it. Get these things off of me." Angelus struggled
furiously with the lights. His sometime companions merely
stared at him impassively. Finally Wesley had the decency
to unplug the bloody things.

Methos knelt down to help untangle him, but then, instead,
whispered in his ear, "Maybe I like you tied up." Angelus
growled at him in response.

***

He'd brushed his teeth three times already and the taste
was still there. The manufacturers of this foul, white excuse
for a Christmas rip-off were going to find themselves and
their families mounted on his wall when his plans were
complete. The idea was a very pleasing one. Of course, he
wasn't keeping a list or anything, but he made a mental
note to remember this for later.

Wesley's voiced drifted in his direction. "Angel, Gunn's
here."

Wonderful. Now there was another one to deal with. Gunn?
Angelus wondered what Cordelia had planned next. They
appeared to be on a schedule, especially given the way
he'd been yelled at to hurry.

*I think I'll keep her tongue as a souvenir.*

His jaw almost dropped when he saw Gunn, the big, bad
vampire hunter. He was dressed in red and green. With a
pointed hat. And belled shoes. Belled shoes? Gunn the elf
was not something he had been expecting to see. If
Angelus had needed to breathe, he would have choked.
From Gunn's expression, he clearly wasn't too happy about
his attire either. The look he directed in Angelus' direction
dared him to make some snide comment about the outfit.

As if Angelus would let this opportunity pass him by. "Well,
Merry Christmas, Twinkle Toes," he said in vicious
amusement.

There, that wasn't too out of character, was it? Not what
Angelus would really like to be doing, but fortune only
knocks occasionally and usually in unexpected ways.

"'Tis the season, Santa Claus," replied Gunn, full of hidden
knowledge.

Santa Claus? Angelus threw a questioning look in
Cordelia's direction.

"I thought we'd go down and cheer up some sick kids so I
managed to get someone here," she bestowed a glowing
smile on Gunn, "to find us some costumes. The
arrangements have already been made. Here's yours."

She held out the red material and Angelus continued to
stare at her. Some of his true nature must have shown in
his eyes because Cordelia actually backed up a step.

"But, on second thought, Wesley might be a better choice."
The ex-Watcher found the outfit shoved into his arms
violently. "You even have glasses."

"Yes, well, if you insist." The ex-Watcher was staring also.

Angelus attempted to reign in his happy, if bloodthirsty,
thoughts. *You've made it through the tree and the
Christmas caroling and you can make it through this - even
if it kills them.*

***

They had finally made it back to the hotel. It was almost
enough to make him rethink his plan. *Maybe instead of
becoming the Scourge of North America, I should become
a dentist. They cause pain and get paid for it. At least I
wouldn't have to keep these oh so happy "friends" of mine
alive.*

The trip had not gone well for Angelus, even after trading
the Santa outfit for the belled hat. No one had suggested
that he put on the rest of the suit and that fact had probably
saved their lives. If he saw even one more candy cane
during the rest of his unlife he was going to go and destroy
the entire human race--just to eliminate Christmas. It was
overrated anyway.

"Time to open the presents," Cordelia called out cheerily. It
wasn't morning yet, but who would want to argue with
Cordelia?

Angelus seated himself and stared at the small pile of
wrapped gifts. Since there was no tree, they had been piled
on the counter and Cordelia proceeded to hand them out.

***

*'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the
hotel, not a creature was stirring, not even Cordelia - at
least, not anymore.*

"Angel!"

Angelus blinked in surprise. His effort to tone out the gift-
giving had succeeded too well. Cordelia was holding out a
large box wrapped in red. He hadn't seen it before they'd left
for the hospital. Strange. Then he noticed that it was
moving. Angelus felt that a moving box was never a good
sign unless, of course, he was the one giving it. The fact
that it was moving could mean all sorts of nasty things
were inside of it and, while this normally wouldn't be a bad
thing, most often these nasty things had been trying to do
away with him.

"You wouldn't believe how long we searched for the perfect
gift. And then we saw him. You're going to love it." She
smiled encouragingly and gestured for him to open the
package. "Now you won't have an excuse about being
lonely and broody."

He picked up the object. Wesley grabbed his arm before he
brought the box up to his ear to shake. Then he smelled it.
They wouldn't have. He tore open the paper and ripped
open the lid.

A puppy jumped on him in one happy bound and licked his
nose. Angelus hated dogs. *This is the final straw! I don't
care. I can find the bloody relics on my own without the help
of that damned ex-Watcher! I was a scourge once and I
don't need any stupid mortals to be one again.*

The dog actually caught on quicker than most of the room's
other occupants and jumped out of his grasp before he
could break its scrawny little neck. Cordelia wasn't so
fortunate. He grabbed her hair and before anyone could
react, he shoved the wrapping paper down her throat,
shutting her up like he'd been wanting to all day.
Meanwhile, the puppy hid in the pile of the Christmas tree
remains and whimpered. Unlife was good.

***

*The heads were mounted on the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there*

Angelus managed to arrange the heads artfully. It had
taken a while but he'd finally found some stakes,
appropriately enough, to stick them on. Cordelia in the
middle with the wrapping paper still in her mouth with
Wesley and Gunn on each side. It gave him a warm and
fuzzy feeling inside to see that he hadn't lost his touch. As a
personal reward, he'd added a few Christmas stockings
filled with such objects as fingers and toes. It certainly gave
the place a festive air.

***

*Methos was chained up all snug in Angelus' bed, while
visions of, well, you know, danced in his head.
And the ancient was unclothed, and Angelus was in
leather, just goes to prove that the vamp'd reached his
tether*

Methos looked very nice like this, Angelus thought. Of
course, the gag would have to come out later. It was no fun
otherwise.

"Who likes who tied up now?" The question was rhetorical
since trying to speak through the gag would have been an
exercise in futility. Angelus wasn't going to kill Methos
permanently - that would be too much of a waste.
One doesn't go and lightly destroy one of the Four
Horsemen, especially one in such a delightful package.
Methos just needed a few lessons about where his place
was in everything. Angelus was certain that with a bit
of...persuasion..., things would work out just the way they
should.

***

*When out in the lobby there arose such a clatter,
He sprang from the bedroom to see what was the matter.
Away down the stairs, he flew like a flash,
And what did he find but a big Christmas bash.*

Angelus had seen a lot of strange things in his life, but
finding the employees of Wolfram and Hart in the lobby of
his hotel hadn't ever been one of them before.

"What the hell..."

"You seem surprised." Lindsey oozed charm, consolingly.
"Didn't Cordelia tell you that we rented this place for our
annual Christmas party? She was muttering something
about you not being able to afford the paid vacations
you'd given your employees."

A struggling figure was dragged in through the door and
tossed in the fire, but the lawyer distracted him again just
as he was wondering where the fire place had come from.
It appeared that some of lawyers had marshmallow sticks
all ready and were waiting for the real roasting to start.

"I really like what you've done with the place," Lindsey said,
pointing to the mutilated body parts attached to the wall.
"When Cordelia had said that the place would be
decorated, I had no idea. Egg nog?" Lindsey asked,
passing Angelus a cup.

"Why not."

"Glad to see you've given up on the whole save the world
from the forces of evil crusade. If you ever need a job, just
let me know." The one armed man wandered back to his
cohorts from the firm leaving Angelus sipping his drink. As
if he would start working for them. He had bigger
ambitions, but he then thought, *Options, Angelus, it's
always nice to have them.*

***

*The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, gave the
luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what my wondering eyes have just met,
But a Slayer, a Watcher, and a few slayerettes.*

It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone. There was no
explanation for the number of strange people converging
on him. Perhaps someone or something *had* noticed his
transformation.

It was at that moment that the door flew open revealing
Buffy, Giles and the other members of the Sunnydale crew.
This could not be happening. Why the hell would they be
here? If Santa showed up next...

"Angel!"

At first, he thought the shout was from Buffy, but when he
heard it the second time he realized that it sounded more
like Cordelia. Wait a minute, mounted heads do not talk.
That was part of the reason he'd stuck them up there in the
first place.

"Angel, snap out of it."

Someone gave him a shake and he blinked his eyes. The
room transformed, revealing Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn and
Methos. Gunn had a slightly bemused look on his face and
was holding a piece of mistletoe with a tag that said
"From Cordelia." Wesley was holding a red package, this
one much too flat and small to hold anything living, he
hoped. That had been some strange dream.

"Time to open your present. You wouldn't believe how long
we searched for the perfect gift. And then we saw this.
You're going to love it." She grabbed the box from Wesley
and handed it to him. He was disturbed by the eerie
similarity between the words just spoken and that of his
dream.

Angelus tore open the packaging. He noticed Wesley
backing away from him, moving closer to the door.
Obviously, whatever it was hadn't been his idea.

The gift was indeed happy and cheery. A puppy stared back
at him, this time merely an image on a piece paper. A
calendar - a kitten and puppy calendar. Angelus sighed. If
word of this got out he'd never live it down at the annual Bad
Guys Association meetings.

"Thank you everyone." The words were ground out with as
much politeness as possible. "I've always wanted one of
these."

Cordelia ignored his tone and said, "You're welcome."

Goodbyes were exchanged and it looked like the others
were leaving. Methos came over and sat down on his lap.
"Now that they're gone, can I have my present?" His voice
mimicking that of a three year old.

Angelus nuzzled his neck. "What do you want?"

Methos turned around and kissed him. "Let's just say that it
involves whipped cream, chocolate syrup and massage
oil."

Maybe this Christmas wouldn't be so bad after all.

***

*Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!*