THE HOLLY GREEN - Color Pine Green

A Box of Crayons Story

By D. M. Evans

Disclaimer - Not mine with the exception of Sorcha and she earns me no cash. All else belong to Mr. Whedon and thanks for letting us play

Rating - PG-13

Time Line - 3 years post AtS S5

Pairings - Buff/Angel, Spike/Cordy, Connor/Faith

Feedback - yes please, I'll send you virtual chocolate.

Summary - All Angel wants is a nice normal Christmas with his family, especially with his granddaughter, Sorcha.

Author's Note - This was written for Kristi as part of her holiday wish list. She was looking for some B/A fic. Thanks to SJ and Chris for the beta and suggestions

And if you want to see the rest of the Box of Crayons series head here http:www.geekgirlz-r.us/dana/danalist.html#crayons

CHAPTER ONE

Angel twisted, bumping into Buffy as he tried to avoid a weary, irritated-looking woman heading his way with an armload of bags. "Tell me again why we're here." He shifted Sorcha on his hip. His granddaughter was busy untying the bow on her red velvet dress.

"Because you wanted to bring your grandchild to see Santa," Buffy said, her voice hiding a hint of exhaustion. Angel knew he was in over his head when Buffy had lost patience with her beloved mall.

"Santa!" Sorcha's blue eyes gleamed, her strong fingers reaching for his thick hair.

"Soon, sweetie." Angel bounced her a little, easing her away from his hair.

"I can't believe your son skated on this," Buffy grumbled, dodging a passel of teenaged boys with their baggie pants half off their butts.

"He wanted us to have some alone time, since you've been in England for the last two months," Angel replied. "And didn't he already take Sorcha to see Santa?"

"Sorcha has seen Santa in practically every mall L.A. has to offer." Buffy smiled wearily. "Connor and Faith took her, Giles and Wes, Willow and Xander, Lorne and Gunn, Cordy and Spike, need I go on?"

Angel rolled his eyes, realizing he must have gone insane to want to come here. "I see your point. Does Sorcha remember Santa from last year... or should I say Father Christmas."

"She loves both, not the least bit shy. Connor said she's been quite happy to sit on Santa's lap, aren't you, princess?" Buffy leaned over and retied Sorcha's bow.

"I think I'm as excited to see Santa as she is." Angel grinned goofily. He couldn't admit that to just anyone but he knew it had to be obvious.

Buffy patted his backside slyly. "I've noticed.

"Santa!" Sorcha shrilled, reaching out towards the line as she bounced on Angel's hip trying to propel herself out his arms to get to the mall Santa.

Angel tightened his grip, looking at the huge line. His face fell. "We'll be here until dawn."

"No, it'll only seem like that," Buffy groaned as they stood on line.

The woman in front of them had twin boys who were busy tormenting each other and running around cutting in and out of the line, coming dangerously close to tripping other patrons. They pulled on the decorations and other children. If Sorcha acted like that, Buffy would be mortified.

Angel put down the squirming Sorcha but kept hold of one of her hands while Buffy caught the other. Sorcha contented herself with swinging between her kin until the twins started making faces at her. Buffy tried the glare of death on them but it didn't work. Sorcha was beginning to take offense at the twins' taunts.

"Aunt Buffy, lemme go," Sorcha implored, tugging hard.

"You need to be a good girl, Sorcha, or else Santa won't talk to you," Buffy said, seeing the wicked gleam in Sorcha's eyes as the girl leveled her gaze on the horrendous twins. At the mention of getting Santa Snubbed, the devil drained out of Sorcha and worry replaced him. Buffy wished that she could scare the twins that easily. They had moved on to harassing a smaller boy behind Buffy and Angel. Sorcha kept twisting, trying to get free. Buffy was half tempted to let her go but her niece had her dad's innate demonic strength; of course they were calling it Slayer strength since Sorcha was a girl.

"Be nice," Sorcha told the boys, who stuck their tongues out at her. Sorcha pulled harder to get loose.

Buffy tapped the twins' mother's shoulder and the way the woman moved, tossing her hair, giving her a cold appraisal reminded Buffy of Cordelia back in Sunnydale.

"Yes?" The lady looked at Buffy as if she smelled a fart.

"I don't mean to be rude but your sons are tormenting everyone. Do you think you could get them to stand in line and wait like the rest of the kids," Buffy said, knowing how embarrassed she'd be if someone had to tell her such a thing about Sorcha.

The woman gave her a look that Cordy of '97 would have been proud of. "I don't like to stifle their creativity. It's not good for them psychologically," the woman said.

"Guess that's a no then," Buffy said sourly and got the look again before the woman turned her back.

Angel pointed to another woman who was trying to make her squalling daughter stop crying all over Santa. "At least we don't have that to look forward to."

"Tell me about it. And Sorcha's had a few pictures with Santa already so it's up to you if you want to shell out another twenty bucks for more," Buffy said, letting Sorcha's hand go now that the twins were off picking on someone else.

"Pass." Angel also dropped his grandchild's hand and Sorcha went to the boy behind them. "Cute kid," he said to the harried-looking mother.

She stroked her son's long dark curls. "Thanks. Your daughter's adorable."

"She's my niece, but thanks. Say hi, Sorcha," Buffy said, trying to force a little Christmas cheer into her voice.

"Hi," she said, trying to get the shy boy's attention.

"Colin, say hi," the boy's mother said and the boy mumbled something that might have been hello.

It was all Sorcha needed. She took his hand and started yammering about things that probably only made sense to another three year old.

The mother leaned closer to Buffy and whispered conspiratorially, "Thanks for trying to get those boys under control. I'd die if Colin acted like that."

"Tell me about it," Buffy said, tossing a furious look at the 'I won't stifle' mom.

"Whoa, hey now," Angel said, reaching for Sorcha. There was a look of panic in his eye.

Buffy whirled and saw her niece had Colin in a tight embrace, kissing him. "Sorcha!"

"He's my friend," Sorcha proclaimed loudly as Buffy hauled her over.

"Sorry," she told Colin's mom.

"No problem." The woman laughed, as her son covered his face.

"I thought I wouldn't have to worry about that kind of thing for another ten years," Angel said softly, looking torn between amused and terrified.

"Ten?" Buffy's eyes widened. She couldn't comprehend that one day SOrcha would have a boyfriend. "Try twenty. She's not dating until she's through college."

Angel laughed. "Oh, if Joyce could hear you now."

Buffy wagged her head. " I know. How did I turn into my own mother? It's like a nightmare."

"Tell me about it. I am so like my own father in so many ways it scares me." Angel's eyes dimmed. "It makes me sad."

"Well, if you know what parts make you sad, you can change them," Buffy reasoned and he smiled at her as yet another screaming brat was plopped on Santa's lap.

One of the twins raced over and untied Sorcha's bow and ran off even as she swatted at him. Buffy slapped her hand.

"We don't hit, Sorcha."

She looked up at her aunt holding out her slapped hand as if to say, 'you just hit me.' The twins descended on Sorcha and Colin again. Angel squatted down, catching them both. Buffy saw his face flash into vampire mode and smooth out again just as rapidly.

"Stop it," he said. The twins screamed and glued themselves to their mother's legs. Angel stood up, glancing over a Buffy. Their mother frosted everyone around with her gaze, trying to find who stifled her children. "Remind me the next time I decide to go to the mall on a holiday to fall on a stake instead. It'll be more fun," Angel hissed.

Buffy giggled. "Hey, it was your idea to come, Angel."

"Don't remind me. I see why Connor was so hyped about me having alone time with Sorcha. It wasn't about me. The mall scared him." Angel sighed.

"The mall scares everyone and you know how Connor is with crowds," Buffy said seriously. Ever since his mental collapse and slow recovery, Connor hated crowds.

"Is it too late to develop a neurosis about crowds?" Angel shuffled along as they got that much closer to her goal.

Buffy hugged him. "Way too late." She kissed his cheek then retied Sorcha's bow yet again.

"I'm not so sure. Maybe it's one of those things that can develop when you're older." He grinned.

She pinched his side playfully. "Older maybe. Ancient, no."

He pouted. "I'm not ancient."

"I'm betting you're way older than Santa Claus." Buffy's eyes danced.

"Not true." Angel waved a hand at the store Santa. "Well, I am older than this version and his reindeer but I had Father Christmas...but he was dressed in a long green fur-lined robe with a horse-drawn sleigh and had slaves instead of elves."

Buffy wrinkled her nose. "I like this version better. Oh, look, we're almost there, Sorcha. It's the twins' turn. I bet Santa really appreciates their 'creativity.'

One of the twins went towards Santa, bursting into tears. He grabbed a handful of candy canes from the basket and took off running. His mother corralled him and tried to get the other twin to sit on Santa's lap. That twin grabbed his crotch and said loudly. "I have to pee! Now!"

Buffy couldn't help grinning as the 'perfect' mom and her creative offspring left without getting to see Santa. Buffy let Angel guide Sorcha to Santa. The vampire was grinning like a fool as Buffy linked arms with him.

"And what do you want for Christmas, little girl?" Santa asked, giving Sorcha's back a pat. He sounded as tired as Buffy felt.

Sorcha held up a hand and started sticking up fingers to count off her wishes. "A sword, stakes, holy water and a kitty!"

Buffy's jaw dropped and Angel's hand convulsed on her waist. He looked down at Buffy as Santa sat there, too stunned to know what to say. Buffy swooped Sorcha off Santa's lap, telling her to thank him while an elf shoved a candy cane into Sorcha's greedy little hand. Angel was already heading away from the line and Buffy could see he was laughing. She swatted his shoulder.

"It's not funny. I can't believe no one told us that's what Sorcha was asking Santa for," Buffy groaned.

"Spike probably put her up to it," Angel chuckled.

"I'll kill him." Buffy pictured many inventive ways of killing a vampire with holiday accouterments.

"Santa will bring kitty?" Sorcha's lips trembled, sensing her adults' displeasure but not understanding it.

"We'll see, baby." Buffy kissed her head.

Angel mouthed 'a cat?' at her in horror. Buffy tried to picture the vampire with a pet and started laughing herself.

"Can we go home now?" Angel asked.

"Please."

Sorcha raced into Angel's house screaming "Daddy!" gleefully as she brandished her sticky candy cane. Angel and Buffy dragged in after her.

"Is it my imagination or is it easier killing demons than running after a three year old?" he asked as he sank onto the couch. The living room, normally neat and orderly, had been turned into a mine field of holiday decorations, crayons, Tweenies and other toys.

Buffy sat on his lap. "It's not your imagination." She draped her arms around his neck. "So, Santa, I've been a very good girl this year."

"Really?" Angel's eyes gleamed as his fingers brushed her backside. "I was hoping you might have been naughty."

"That can be arranged." Buffy kissed him.

"Ewww, Aunt Buffy!" Sorcha shrilled, running back into the living room.

"Yeah, ewww," Faith said, following Sorcha in. The dark-haired Slayer was half-glued to Connor's side.

Buffy rested her face against Angel's neck. "If I wish really hard, will they go back into the other room?"

"Doubtful." Angel squeezed her.

"And you, little one, don't get to say ewww." Buffy wormed free of Angel's embrace to pick up her niece. "We all saw you kissing Colin."

Sorcha giggled and tried to kick free of Buffy's grasp. The Slayer set her down.

"Who's Colin?" Connor asked, his arm wrapped loosely around Faith's waist. His hair stuck up at odd angels and his shirt was on inside out. "You got back awful fast."

"A little boy in line to see Santa that Sorcha grabbed and kissed," Buffy said, trying to ignore Faith's amusement at the idea.

"Ah, I see we've inherited some of your granddaddy's...lusty tendencies," Connor said, ruffling his daughter's light brown curls.

Angel's mouth gaped. "Are you actually trying to blame me for this? You, who's standing there with your clothes thrown on inside out."

"Of course. There's only me and Dawn, two innocent young people, and you, a vampire. Hmmm, let me think, who might it be." Connor pulled off his shirt and reversed it but not before flashing sucker bites on his chest and belly and scratch marks down his back.

Angel got up off the couch. "You'd better keep thinking, boy. I'm about ready to kick your butt for making me go to the mall."

Connor laughed, eyeing his father in disbelief. "Made you? I couldn't have kept you here if I nailed you to the wall."

"I think he has a point," Buffy said, linking arms with Angel. She noticed Faith had put up a Christmas stocking on the mantle. Who knew the other Slayer was so into the holiday but she was responsible for most of the decorating.

"Still...I had to scare a pair of brats and do you know what Sorcha asked Santa for?" Angel asked ruefully.

"Weapons and a kitty," Faith said, her eyes gleaming with mirth.

"Kitty?" Sorcha asked brightly.

"Sweetie, Uncle Spike is in the library with Uncle Roo. He's supposed to be helping but I know he's actually asleep. Why don't you go play with him," Connor said, squatting down to be eye to eye with his daughter.

Her eyes gleamed and she took off for the library. They heard a happy squeal, the sounds of someone getting the wind knocked out of him and a 'bloody hell!'

"That explains where she came up with that phrase at the food court when we wouldn't let her have a big cookie," Angel said.

"That's not the only bad word Sorcha knows, right, Ms. Boobies?" Buffy leveled that at Faith, having not forgiven her the 'B is for Boobies' that Sorcha had contributed to her class' alphabet sound-off.

The dark-haired Slayer shrugged, making her breasts bounce. "Jealous?"

"I have a good self-image," Buffy informed her.

"So, I guess you need to go kitty shopping, Dad." Connor grinned, ignoring the glaring women.

Angel wisely did the same. "Me?"

"The thing will be living here. We can't take a cat back to London with us," Connor said, flopping on the couch, putting a Christmas stars and bells pillow under his head. The garish pillow did nothing to hide the bed-head he had going on.

Angel sobered. He was so enjoying having his family around that he had forgotten it was only temporarily. "Maybe we can tell her Santa forgot the kitty?"

"You'd let a poor kitty face the pound's usual handling of things rather than make your granddaughter happy?" Connor asked, stretching until his joints popped.

"Who taught you to manipulate and lay on guilt?" Angel grimaced.

"Inborn trait." Connor grinned.

"Fine. But a full grown cat." Angel stabbed a finger at him. "I don't want a wee little kitten running around, clawing stuff up."

Connor shrugged. "Whatever. Have Buffy help you."

"And what will you be doing?" Angel asked.

"Same thing he was when you were at the mall." Faith patted Connor's butt as she yanked him off the couch.

Angel rolled his eyes. "Don't break my son before the holidays, Faith."

"He's pretty unbreakable. I know because we...."

"Don't even say it," Buffy warned. "I'll go with Angel to the humane society."

"Are you sure you don't want to hear about it, Buffy? I bet you could use a few new moves?" Faith grinned wickedly.

"I don't think Angel's that limber," Connor said with all seriousness.

"You can quit mortifying us. We said you didn't have to go to the pound," Angel said sourly.

Faith laughed. "Come on, Connor, while you're still wearing that mistletoe."

"I don't see any mistletoe," Buffy blurted out.

"He's not wearing it where you can see." Faith's grin was absolutely predatory and Buffy turned ruby.

"T.M.I.!" the blonde Slayer cried.

"Why didn't I think of that?" Angel muttered as Faith hauled Connor off.

Buffy put her arms around him. "Keep it in mind for later."

Angel's eyes gleamed. "I will." Angel kissed her then let reality sink in. "I can't believe I'm getting a cat."

"It'll do you good." Buffy rested her head on his shoulder.

"You'll be in London and I'll be stuck with a damn cat," he grumbled.

Buffy just laughed.