Christmas was in the air. With every fluffy snowflake falling from the sky, with every jingling bell, and every colorful light twinkling.
Raven took a deep breath of the crisp air. She loved this time of year. The streets looked like they had been frosted with sweet icing, and the buzz of excitement was everywhere. The Charities, unbridled joy from children pulling their toboggans around, and couples young and old, sharing this special time of year together.
Yes, Christmas was in the air… so why didn't she feel it? She could sense other's feelings of joy and excitement, but she couldn't seem to grasp it for herself this year. She had become painfully aware of the commercialism attaching itself to this time of year, and that had been dampening her holiday spirit.
Raven gave a small, but genuine smile to a man dressed as Santa, ringing his bells for a charity. She stopped and placed a couple dollars in the pail and continued walking. There were only twelve days until Christmas, and she had put off buying presents for her friends for as long as she could. She had just bought the last gift and was walking back to the tower slowly, hoping that she could catch some of the Christmas spirit.
"Hey! Get back here!" a voice broke her thoughts, and she turned toward the Santa she had just passed. Dashing in her direction was a poorly dressed man, carrying the charity bucket. The charity Santa was running behind him, but was much too slow to catch the thief. Narrowing her eyes, she concentrated on the power flowing through her body.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" she cried, dropping the bags of gifts she was carrying and raising her arms. The man was pulled into the air in a large encasement of black energy. The charity Santa slowed down, panting.
"T-thank you," the man breathed, trying to catch his breath. "That man tried to steal the money."
Raven had been able to figure that out herself, but didn't respond with the sarcastic comments she usually would have. Instead she bit her tongue and lowered the thief. She freed him of his black prison, but kept a tentacle of power wrapped around his waist. She pulled the bucket out of his hands and handed it to the Santa.
The Santa took the bucket, thanking her again, before walking back to his post.
Raven turned back to the thief, who was looking shame-faced at the ground. He looked so guilty, that Raven felt a twinge of sympathy, but she ignored it. Putting on a blank face she asked the man,
"Why did you steal the money?"
The man looked up from his shoes. Raven noticed offhandedly that there was a large hole on the toe of his left shoe.
"I didn't want to," the man whimpered. "I know stealing ain't right, but I got a family waiting for me, and I ain't got no job! My daughter, she's four, an' I just wanted to get her a present this year, is all."
Raven listened to the man's story and her face softened a little.
"There are better ways," she told him. "If you don't have enough money to get your daughter a present, there are more than enough charities around the city who are willing to help."
"Yeah, I know," the man replied, hanging his head. "I just don't want my little girl to think her daddy can't do nothin'."
"Asking for help isn't nothing. And I'm sure your daughter wouldn't mind," Raven told him, noticing the glint of tears in his eyes.
The man remained silent, looking at the hole in his shoe until Raven spoke.
"Take me to your family," she ordered. The man looked at her questioningly, but complied.
She followed the man through the busy streets until they reached an alley. Looking into the dim space between buildings, Raven's heart dropped as she saw families huddled together for warmth. The man led her to the far end of the alley, where a woman was holding onto a young girl with blonde hair.
The man stopped before his family could see him. He turned to Raven, unsure of what to say.
"They're beautiful," she told him.
"Yeah, they sure are," the man agreed, watching his laugh as she watched her breath swirl in the cold air. She seemed unaware of the harsh conditions they were living in.
Looking closely, Raven could see that the girl's jacket was thin and her arms were turning red where there were holes in the material.
Raven looked down at her own clothing. She was wearing pants, a sweater and a warm jacket in lieu of her usual uniform. Placing her bags on the snow covered ground, she unzipped her puffy blue jacket. She shivered at the feeling of the cold air blowing against her tight black sweater. She ignored her discomfort and leaned down pulling a doll she had bought for Starfire out of one of her shopping bags. She handed the jacket and doll to the man. He looked at her questioningly.
"You wanted to get your daughter a Christmas present. It's a little early, but I'm sure she'll like her gift," explained the empath. The man listened to her explanation in amazement, before smiling widely. The smile made her see how he might be slightly handsome under different conditions.
"Oh thank you!" the man cried, clutching at the gifts. "Thank you so much!"
The man turned away from her and ran towards his family.
"Harry, where have you been? Where did you get that?" asked his wife as he dropped to his knees in front of them.
"I've been with a Christmas angel," he told his wife, kissing her on the cheek. He turned to his daughter and handed her the warm jacket and the doll.
"Thank you, Daddy! Oh! Mommy, Daddy, I love you so much!" cried the girl, throwing herself into her father's open arms.
"Harry, what's all this about a Christmas angel?" asked his wife. Her voice was reprimanding, but her joy sparkled in her eyes and a smile graced her features.
"A girl, she gave the coat and the doll to me. She's right over there," explained Harry, pointing in Raven's direction. When they looked though, the spot she had been standing in was empty.
"She was just there," said Harry, looking at the spot in bewilderment. "I know she was there."
"It's a Christmas miracle," whispered his wife, placing a hand on his shoulder.
In the shadows, Raven smiled. She was good at blending into the dark, and knew they couldn't see her still watching them.
They had called her a Christmas angel, she remembered, touched at their words. She leaned against the wall as she watched the happy family. Even living poor in the streets, they were able to feel the Christmas joy.
"That was a nice thing you did," said a voice at her shoulder. She was surprised, but recognized the voice and didn't need to look over.
"Where did you come from?" she asked, eyes still fixed on the girl happily jumping around in her new jacket, and spinning around with her doll.
"I saw you following this man down here, I decided to see what you were doing," her companion explained. She could almost hear the smile that was undoubtedly pasted on his goofy face.
"Well, I'm glad to know that instead of having a stocking this year, I have a stalker."
The changeling laughed and placed a warm arm around her body. She tensed slightly and turned to glare at him.
"You've been shivering since you gave away your jacket. You're going to freeze if you don't warm up soon," he told her, explaining his actions in a joking manner. He waited to see what she would say. She wouldn't kill him so close to Christmas, would she?
"Come on, let's go get some hot chocolate," she said, shrugging off his arm and picking up her shopping bags.
"Sure!" her exclaimed. Taking one last look at the family, they began to walk out of the alley.
Suddenly Raven stopped. There was one more family in the ally, and an old man. Beast Boy smiled as Raven reached into her shopping bags and pulled out a red and green scarf. She handed the scarf to the old man who smiled and thanked her profusely. Then she turned to the other family. Young twins boys, about six years old, were kicking a dented can back and forth. They were wearing warmer jackets than the little girl wore. Raven handed one boy a stuffed animal of a green gorilla and handed the other a car, which was meant for display, but would work for playing with.
Her bags empty, Raven and Beast Boy left the alley, leaving behind very happy people.
They walked down the busy sidewalk until they reached a small café. The café was brightly lit and decorated for the holidays.
They sat down at a small two-person table and waited for the waitress to come take their order. As they waited, Raven looked at the people sitting in the small restaurant. There was a group of friends in a booth, laughing merrily. A mother sat at another booth, wiping sticky whipped cream off of one of her two young children, as the other chattered loudly about what they were getting all their relatives. There were two other two-person tables occupied. An elderly couple, talking to each other quietly sat at one. Two young women sat at the other, chatting happily.
Raven found her eyes traveling to the elderly couple. She wondered idly, what it would be like to be with someone for so long. They looked so in love, staring into each other's eyes as they spoke softly to one another. The wrinkles around the corners of their mouths when they smiled spoke of hard times overcome together. Raven thought it would be nice to be in love with someone and spend your entire life with him or her. She found herself wishing that someday she could be like the old couple, sitting with the love of her long life.
"Hello, may take your order?" asked the sweet-voiced waitress, walking over to Raven and Beast Boy's table.
"Two hot chocolates please," ordered Raven, shaking her head free of her girly thoughts.
The woman nodded and walked off to get their order. She came back carrying two large mugs of hot chocolate. A thick layer of whipped cream and chocolate shavings covered the warm liquid.
The two friends sipped their hot chocolate, talking about what they had bought for their other three friends.
"I wasn't sure if I should get presents for the Titans East," said Raven.
"Yeah, neither was I, so I'm just going to give them each a small basket of Christmas cookies," confided Beast Boy, taking a sip of his hot chocolate.
"That's a good idea," admitted Raven. She looked up from her hot chocolate and fought the urge to smile. Beast Boy had a foam mustache and a blotch of whipped cream on his nose.
Wiping away the foam mustache, but not seeming to notice the cream on his nose, Beast Boy nodded.
"Yeah, I thought so too. If you want we can make them a really big basket for all of them to share and write all of our names on the card," he suggested. "Then no one has to worry about what to get the Titans East."
"That would be nice," replied Raven. "Wow, you sure are using you brain… for once."
Beast Boy smiled at the praise and took the last swig of his hot chocolate. Raven finished her own drink and placed it on the table. They sat talking for a while before deciding to leave. They called the waitress over and she gave them the bill before walking off with the dirty cups.
Raven reached for her wallet, but Beast Boy got his out first and placed enough money on the table for both of their drinks and a nice tip for the waitress. Raven had given done some really good deeds today, and in Beast Boy's opinion, it was the least her could do to pay for the hot chocolate.
They walked towards the door, and Raven was following Beast Boy out, when she heard the old woman at the other table comment to her husband,
"Such a cute young couple, do you remember when we were that young?"
Raven turned away, blushing lightly, and walked out of the door. Beast Boy didn't appear to have heard, and Raven's blush receded.
Still, as they walked down the street, Raven's thoughts lingered on the old woman's words. She had thought Raven and Beast Boy were a couple, and apparently they reminded the woman of her and her husband when they were young. Raven thought back to when she had been watching the old couple, wishing that someday she could have the same thing as they did. If she had understood that woman correctly, they elderly couple had known each other since they were in their late teens, possibly younger, and they were still in love. Was it possible that Raven could find her soul mate at the age of seventeen and be together forever? An image shot through her head. She saw herself as an elderly woman, smiling lovingly at Beast Boy, equally aged, as they sat in a café like the one they had just left.
Another blush crept across her face and Raven was glad for the frosty air that turned everyone's cheeks rosy.
"Oh! I almost forgot that you're not wearing a coat!" exclaimed Beast Boy, noticing her shiver slightly. "Here, take mine."
She shook her head as he stopped and began unzipping his jacket.
"No, you'll get cold," she declined his offer. "I'll be fine."
"Raven just take my jacket, and stop being so stubborn."
"You're being just as stubborn as I am," she retorted.
"Well, fine then. We can compromise. We'll share my jacket. That way we'll both be warm," he replied, pulling his arm out of one sleeve.
Raven scowled when she couldn't find a flaw in his compromise, but walked into the jacket. Beast Boy blushed; he hadn't expected her to go along with it. He thought she would just take the jacket instead. Still, he wasn't complaining.
Beast Boy wrapped the jacket around the two of them like a blanket and they continued walking towards the tower.
Raven was surprised at how comfortable she felt walking down the street, wrapped up with Beast Boy. It felt natural somehow.
Eventually they reached the water and looked out at the tower sitting on a small island. Beast Boy turned into a bird and began flying towards the tower, leaving his jacket with Raven.
She was glad that he had left it as she lifted into the air and flew after him. The cold air that surrounded her as she flew over the water wasn't as bad while she wore his jacket, still warm from their combined body heat.
As she landed on the island, she smiled to herself. As she walked into the tower, she felt just a bit of the Christmas spirit.
Okay, so this is the beginning of my Christmas story. I'm really excited about it! I've got most of it written already. There will be twelve chapters, and I'll update every day. It'll all be posted by the 23rd, I promise. Reviews are always enjoyed and appreciated.