Author's note: Please read Magic and The Magic Returns before reading this story. This is a one chapter deal, so no begging for more. smile

Disclaimer: I own Maggie, Maggie's grandmother and Guillermo. Everyone else is owned by Guillermo del Toro/Mike Mignola/Dark Horse Comics/Sony Pictures.

"So, what do you think?" I ask her.

"It looks great," Liz answers.

"Do you think they'll like it?" I enquire.

"If they don't, they need their heads and their eyes examined," she responds.

I come over to where she's curled up in an over stuffed chair and look at my handy work.

"I've never done this before," I tell her.

"You've never…?"

"Well, when I was a kid I helped my parents. But after I went to live with my grandmother, the servants were the ones who did all the work."

"Could have fooled me," she says.

"How are you feeling?" I ask.

"Other than a little tired, ok," she answers. "The nausea has passed for now."

"When are you planning on telling him?"

"I'm giving him the test for his present."

I laugh. "Just make sure you have you're camera ready when he opens it. That's a look that you want to show the kid."

"Oh, I plan to have the camera loaded and ready when he opens it."

"Are you up for a little shopping?"

"Don't you ever tire of shopping?"

"No," I tell her simply. "We need new outfits."

"The malls are crowded," she says.

"Who said anything about going to a mall?" I reply. "I happen to know this very cute little boutique in an out of the way place."

"I probably can't afford it then," she says.

"You don't have to," I tell her. "Come on, let's go."

When we return several hours later, we're intercepted by an agent.

"Dr. Manning called while you were out," he says. "They're coming back tonight."

"What's their ETA?" I ask.

"Dr. Manning said they should be arriving about nineteen hundred hours," he answers.

I check my watch. "That gives us only a couple of hours to finish getting ready. Have you told the others?"

"Yes, miss," he replies. "Everything should be ready by the time they get here."

"Good," I say. "Thank you for letting us know."

He nods and walks away. I turn to Liz who's looking a little pale.

"Why don't you go and take a nap? I'll come and get you before they get here and help you get ready."

Liz just nods and goes off in the direction of her room. I double check all of the preparations, and it looks like everything is in order.

I head for the guest room that I've commandeered. I shower, do my make up and hair, and finally I get dressed. It's a cute little outfit that shows off my left shoulder. I'm pretty hesitant to let any one see my right shoulder still. The reddish brown sweater is made from alpaca wool, so it's very warm and soft. The slacks are loose enough to move easily in without being baggy. I put on my dress boots that I bought last June and I finish off with emerald and diamond choker with the matching bracelet and earrings. It's not a perfect match for my engagement ring, but that's ok. I just won't tell Grandmother.

I go and find Liz, who's still asleep. I get her up and showered. Then I help her do her hair and makeup and finally she gets dressed. She went with a flowing red dress that can easily be changed to accommodate her soon to be expanding size. Just as she finishes putting on her shoes, there's a knock at the door. I answer it; it's the same agent from earlier.

"We just got a call from the airport, they're on their way here," he says.

"Thank you," I reply. "Is everything ready?"

"Yes, miss," he answers. "And everyone is in place."

"Thank you. We'll be there in a few minutes." I shut the door and turn to Liz. "It's show time."

We hurry into the library and take up our stations on either side of the double doors. I look up and check that the two sprigs of parasitic plant life are still hanging from their ribbons just inside the doors. I "feel" them coming down the hall, and I give the signal. We're suddenly plunged into darkness. Even the lights in Abe's tank have been turned off and the fire in the brazier has been doused for this. A moment later, I can hear Hellboy through the door.

"Where the hell is everyone?" Hellboy growls. I can hear him stomping down the hallway and I can feel a big stupid smile spreading across my face. "Is it too much to ask that my wife greet me when I get home?"

"Um, Red…" Abe tries to interrupt.

"I mean come on, it's Christmas Eve," he continues ranting. "The least she could do is..."

They walk through the door and into the totally dark room.

"What the hell!?" Hellboy yells. At that precise moment all of the lights go on in a blaze of Christmas glory as Liz, Guillermo, all of the medical staff, the few agents that remained behind and I yell:


Hellboy and Abe stand there in stunned surprise. Hellboy is closest to me and is in the process of reaching for that cannon on his hip he calls gun.

"Well, that didn't go exactly as planned," says Liz from the far side of Abe.

"Oh, well," I say, shrugging. I stand on my tip toes, pull on Hellboy's arm to make him lean over and give him a kiss on the cheek. "Merry Christmas, Red."

He looks at me in confusion as I walk over to Abe. Liz is just finishing giving Abe a peck on the cheek and wishing him a merry Christmas when I get there. She walks toward Hellboy as I stand in front of Abe with my arms open. He gladly pulls me to him and kisses me. I can see Hellboy and Liz performing the same act out of the corner of my eye.

"I'm glad you kids are enjoying yourselves, but the rest of us would like to get the party started," says Guillermo from next to the Christmas tree.

Our lips finally part. I look over at Hellboy and Liz, they haven't stopped yet.

"Hey, this is a family event, not a making a family event," jokes Myers.

"To late," I turn and tell him, smiling. He looks at me in confusion and I can hear Abe chuckling behind me. I lead Abe over to the others while Hellboy and Liz continue to kiss. A second later, Guillermo is pounding his cane on the floor.

"Now there will be none of that, little missy," he orders.

I turn around in time to see Liz douse her flame. She turns around looking a little sheepish. Hellboy looks like he wants to continue doing that all night. Unfortunately for him, Liz leads him over toward the crowd.

"You'd think he was the one having the dreams," Abe whispers in my left ear. He leans down and kisses my bare shoulder. Shivers start having races up and down my spine.

"Why is the tree in a pot?" asks Hellboy as he checks out the Christmas tree and decorations I put up. I spent the better part of a week planning this, and I'm just glad that it wasn't ruined by them returning to soon.

"Because I refuse to kill a tree just so it can be thrown away a couple of weeks later," I answer. "This way the tree gets to keep its life and the Earth gets to be a little greener."

Hellboy turns away, muttering something about crazy Earth Mages. I just smile. The next several hours are spent eating and talking and having a good time. As it draws close to midnight, and most everyone has gone, Liz finally pulls her present for Hellboy out of hiding.

"Here," she says as she hands the small rectangular box to Hellboy.

"What's this?" he asks.

"It's your Christmas present. What else would it be?" she teases.

"It's not Christmas yet," he points out. Technically, he's right; it's only 11:57 pm.

"Well, if you don't want it," she says as she reaches for it. He quickly pulls it out of her reach and starts opening it. A moment later the paper is off and the box is open. I see Liz reach for her camera. Hellboy pulls a small white rectangular piece of plastic out of the box.

"What's this?" he asks. "And why is there a plus sign on it?"

"I believe, Red, that is called a home pregnancy test," says Abe. He's standing beside me with his arm around my waist.

A moment later, the significance of what he's holding in his hand hits him. Liz's camera goes off just as the moment of enlightenment spreads across his face.

"You're…" he starts, staring at Liz. She just grins and nods. A nanosecond later, the box, wrapping and positive home pregnancy test are on the floor as Hellboy pulls Liz into his arms and starts kissing her. He picks her up and heads for the door. Just before leaving, he stops and looks up. He then turns and looks at me.

"So that's why you kissed me," he says pointing up at the two sprigs of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling. I smile and nod. He chuckles and then turns, carrying Liz out of the room.

I can feel Abe pull me closer to him. Guillermo looks at Abe with a look of great interest on his face.

"So, Abe," he says. "Tell me about your latest adventure. I want to make sure I archive it correctly. Those silly reports just don't give the feel of what it's really like to be out there."

Abe hesitates, but I don't give any indication that I'm interested in anything but his story. He sighs and starts telling Guillermo about his and Hellboy's latest mission. A few minutes later, I excuse myself and head out the door. I head back to the guest room. I change and wait. Just as I figured, Abe comes looking for me a few minutes later. I hear a knock on the door.

"Come in," I say.

Abe enters, and then stops dead in his tracks.

"Well, what do you think?" I ask him.

"I think it's time I unwrapped my Christmas present," he says.

With amazing speed, he sheds his respirator, gloves, top, and goggles. He then crosses over to me. He runs his hands along my arms, caressing the blue-green silk of the robe. Then he undoes the tie and pushes the robe off of my shoulders. I let it fall to the floor. He leans over and starts kissing me. My brain stops working and my body takes over. I find the zipper to his shorts and unzip it. That hand reaches in and starts caressing his hip. The other hand is holding the back of his head so he doesn't stop kissing me. His hands are everywhere. I can feel him starting to pull the night gown up and his hands start working their way around underneath. He pulls it up over my head and then he pushes me onto the bed. I lay back as he lies on top of me. I pull him toward me, wrapping my legs around his waist. His lips leave mine and he starts working his way down my neck onto my bare chest. I start gasping for breath as he works his way downwards.


The claxon outside the door goes off full tilt. I can hear feet running and yelling.

"What is that thing?" I ask irritably. "A virginity alert?"

Abe chuckles, kisses my nose and gets up and gets dressed. He's out the door a minute later. I lie in bed and wait for his return. In the morning, after I get up, I find that he and Hellboy are gone on another mission. They're not expected back until next year. So much for my Christmas surprise.