DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the characters from ADJL. They belong to Disney. I do however own anyone you do NOT recognize, along with the plot.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year!
May the light of God shine upon everyone and keep them safe.
"The Best Gift of All"
Jake smiled as he closed his history book and set it aside. The Christmas holidays were soon upon NYC and he couldn't wait to get them started. He wanted to get away from school and most of all, get away from Rotwood.
As Jake started putting his stuff away, he glanced over at his classmates. Most of them were talking about what their holiday plans were and socializing amongst themselves.
But as Jake scanned the area closest to the door, he noticed one person not saying a word. He frowned as he took in his girlfriend's appearance. She had her head turned towards the window and her chin was in her hands.
Jake decided he couldn't have that and made it his mission to see if his Rosebud was okay. He had taken to calling Rose that ever since they had officially become a couple and she rather liked the nickname a lot. He in turn had gotten used to her calling him 'Dragon boy as more of a affectionate nickname than the vindictive way she had used it in the past.
"Hey," Jake said, sitting down next to Rose on her left. He gave her a sincere concerned look. "What's wrong with my Rosebud, huh?"
Rose turned around at the sound of Jake's voice and managed a small smile for him.. She didn't want him worrying about her, but she knew he could see right through her fake cheeriness.
"It's nothing," Rose told him, trying to avoid the subject for as long as possible.
"Come on, Rose. You know you can tell the MacDaddy Jake."
Just then, Trixie and Spud wandered over. Trixie gave Jake a look that clearly stated she was annoyed about something.
"Yo Jakey, why you all over here alone when there's fifteen minutes of class left to do nothing?"
Jake gave Trixie a look and motioned to Rose.
"We were kind of talking here. A little privacy would be nice."
Trixie glared in Rose's direction before continuing her statement.
"We were wondering where you bounced off to."
"Well you found me," Jake said, trying to make it apparent without sounding to rude that he and Rose needed some alone time.
Spud spoke up just then.
"So what are you guys doing for Christmas?" He asked, directing his question to his friends, including Rose.
"Well my Dad's gonna make his famous egg nog and then we're going to exchange gifts." Trixie replied, smiling from ear to ear.
"What about you, Rose?" Spud asked, truly interested in what Rose's traditions were.
Rose shook her head and got up, swinging her bag over her shoulder.
"I'll see you guys later, kay?" With that, she pecked Jake on the cheek and left the room.
"Was it something I said?" Spud asked, afraid he had hurt Rose's feelings.
Trixie shook her head, obviously not caring about Rose's feelings.
"Forget about little miss ninja's pms problems. This Christmas is gonna be off de chizzang! We gonna party like there's no tomorrow, right Jakey? Jake?" Trixie turned around to see that Jake was no longer standing with them. He had left the room.
Spud gave Trixie's shoulder a pat before gathering up his own things and heading for the door. He wanted to get some last minute computer work done before he had to be home at four-thirty. He was going to help his family decorate the tree for Christmas. He was also in charge of helping his grandmother make her famous fruitcake. Spud liked this job because it meant he got to taste the finished product.
Spud also liked the fact that he could share his grandmother's famous fruitcake with anyone who would dare to sample it. He knew Trixie and Jake only ate it to be nice, but Spud was determined to find a use for his grandmother's creation, if it was the last thing he did.
Jake, meanwhile, had caught up with Rose. She was standing by her locker and it looked like she was pretty upset. She flung her locker door open and started throwing things into her locker while taking some things out.
"Rose?" Jake asked, being careful not to scare her. "Rose, what's wrong?"
"Nothing. I just need to get back a little early today."
Jake noticed Rose didn't say home and he didn't push for answers as to why. He knew Rose's homelife wasn't what you would call normal and he tried his best to help her whenever he could.
"Rose, we have an hour till school ends. If you don't wanna stick around here, it's cool. I'm down with that. We could go somewhere else."
Rose turned around to face Jake, but quickly turned away when she felt tears come to her blue eyes. Jake was so sweet, but Rose didn't feel like talking at the moment. She had too much on her mind.
Jake was too quick for her though and pulled her into a loving embrace.
Rose tried to fight her heart, but she lost the battle and soon found herself burying her face into Jake's shoulder, the tears coming steady and fast.
Jake was really worried now. He had never seen Rose cry unless something was really wrong.
"Hey, hey, it's okay. Rose, it's all right. Whatever it is, it's gonna be okay. You're with the AmDrag now. You're all right. It's okay."
Rose let out a sob as she continued to cry while trying to get her thoughts into prospective.
"Jake, I…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to dump my problems on…" Rose's voice trailed off as she felt Jake land a kiss to her cheek before putting his hands through her long golden tresses.
"Don't even finish that sentence, baby. The AmDrag is here for you. I really do want to help. Please, just talk to me."
Rose sighed as she tried to stop crying. She had been holding this in all day and now that Jake was there, Rose felt safe enough to let her feelings out.
"it's this whole Christmas thing." Rose began, her voice tearful and full of pain. "I never did well at Christmas time. I guess it's because ever since I was nine years old, I never had a family to share it with. And the Huntsman never celebrated it. He's not much for holidays."
Jake nodded and hugged Rose tightly. He knew she needed it and he wanted to do everything he could to help her feel better.
"I'm sorry," he said, not knowing just how bad Rose had it until now.
"Jake, it's okay. It's not your fault. I guess I just started thinking about my family and how they celebrate the holiday. I wish I was with them now. That way, I would have a nice Christmas for once." Rose sighed as she laid her head against Jake's shoulder while closing her eyes. She felt the tears come and tried her best to hold them back, but it was no use.
As Jake stood there, comforting Rose, he got an idea. He knew exactly how he could help her.
"Rose, your bad Christmas streak is about to come to an end."
"What do you mean?" Rose asked, her voice full of the surprise that mirrored the look in her azure eyes.
"Just leave it to me. The only thing you have to do is be at my house around twelve Christmas day. I'll handle the rest."
Rose nodded, not sure what Jake was doing, but trusting him fully.
"Okay. If you say so." She then smiled a little and planted a kiss on her boyfriend's cheek. "I love you, Jake."
"I love you too, my Rosebud. I promise you, this Christmas will be one you'll never forget." With that, Jake and Rose left the school hand in hand.
"Jakey, are you crazy?" Trixie asked as she leaned against a shelf in Jake's grandfather's electronic shop later that afternoon. "You can't possibly make up for five years of little miss ninja thing's Christmas problems."
Jake ignored her comment.
"I gotta try, Trix. You should have seen Rose's face and how upset she was. If you had been there and heard what she told me, you would know how much this means to her. I gotta do this for her."
Trixie still looked doubtful.
"I don't know, Jakey. I still say she's out to kill you."
Jake glared at her.
Spud spoke up just then.
"Count me in! We can mix up the traditions and give Rose a taste of all of them!"
Jake gave Spud a look, but felt his spirits lift at the mention that Spud would help. He needed all the help he could get and he was counting on both of his friends to pitch in.
"This is gonna be the best Christmas Rose has ever had!" Jake said, his voice filled with confidence and excitement.
Spud nodded enthusiastically.
Trixie still wasn't sure.
"Come on, Trix," Spud said, patting her shoulder. "Christmas is a time for helping others. Good will towards men and women and the constant selling of teddy bears wearing Santa hats. How can you not want to get into the Christmas spirit by helping Rose? Besides, there's enough of my Nanna's fruitcake to go around."
Trixie shook her head.
"No way! There is nothing in the whole world that would convince me to help out with this plan of yours. Especially if Rose is involved."
"You said her name!" Spud shouted, a look of happiness and astonishment on his face. "You said Rose's name! You are getting into the holiday spirit!" He did a dance around the counter and ended up knocking several things over in the process.
"I could always invite Kyle over," Jake said, knowing full well that he had gotten Trixie hook line and sinker.
"Ka…Ka…Kyle? You would invite Kyle Wilkins?" Trixie asked, her brown eyes shining with the romance she felt for the boy.
"Yup. But only if you'll help us out."
Trixie thought for a long time before heaving a defeated sigh. She was obviously consenting against her better judgment to help with the plan.
"All right, you convinced me." She said, giving Jake a look.
"Great! Now all I have to do is order the food, get my parents approval to use the living room and then find Rose the perfect Christmas gift."
"Aw, pea'yaze, Jakey, you know your parents won't mind giving up the living room for a few hours. So long as we don't' do anything-" Trixie's sentence was cut off when she realized what Jake had just said. "Buy Rose the perfect Christmas gift. How are you going to pull that off?"
"I don't' know. But I'll think of something. There has to be something Rose wants."
"Take it from me my friend, the best gift of all is that of thy friendship and love. For in our friends, we find love for each other." Spud said, sounding like Shakespeare.
Trixie was about to hit him, when Jake stopped her.
"You're right, Spud. But there's still gotta be something I can get her. Something that will tell Rose I love her. I don't just want her to know that I care, I want her to know that I love her."
"Wow! That was beautiful!" Spud commented, wiping at his eyes.
Trixie whacked him on the head before turning her attention back to Jake.
"Well all I gotta say to that is good luck, Jakey. Most of the shops are closing as of midnight."
Jake nodded. Little did he know that the perfect Christmas gift for Rose couldn't be bought and was waiting twenty minutes outside the city.
Rose sighed as she sat down on her bed. She had finally gained a few hours of peace. The Huntsman hadn't wanted her for anything, except to tell her to make sure 88 and 89 went on their mission as scheduled. Rose got that task done easily by threatening the two boys with no raises to the next level of apprenticeship. Rose really didn't care either way. She wanted out of the Huntsclan altogether, but she knew it wasn't possible. The only way Rose could leave was if she ran away, or if by some miracle, her family was found. But Rose knew it was a long shot and she had given up on finding her family a few months ago. But still, there was a longing in Rose's heart to accomplish that dream. She wanted more than anything to be loved and know she was part of a forever family. And knowing she had one out there, made Rose want to find them all the more.
Rose wanted to be able to cuddle her little sister, Samantha, when she had a bad dream and just be able to be there for her again. She also wanted to hangout and spend time with her twin sister, Violet and hear her laugh. But most of all, Rose wanted to spend time with her mother again. She missed her so much. She missed baking cookies with her at Christmas time and decorating the tree with her mother and sisters. Rose just missed everything about her family and what they did on Christmas. And knowing that she couldn't be with them for Christmas, made her heart hurt all the more.
Rose had been kidnapped by the Huntsclan when she was nine years old and had been taken away from the only family she had ever known. She missed them terribly, but Rose always had faith that she would see them again.
As Rose's thoughts floated to Jake, she smiled. He was so sweet and she loved him so much. He had been there for her through a lot of hard times. And to think he was planning a Christmas surprise just for her, made Rose's heart melt. She was grateful to Jake and thanked God every day that He had brought Jake into her life. She didn't know what she would do without him.
As Rose went to lay down, she thought better of it and knelt down on her knees. She clasped her hands together and closed her eyes. She took a few minutes to get her thoughts together before she spoke.
"Dear Father, I just want to thank you for Jake and his family. I thank you that you brought them into my life and that Jake has been such a good friend to me. I never had that before, Father and you made it possible. I can't thank you enough for that. I also ask that you keep Jake and his family safe this Christmas. Let them know I'm thinking about them and I'm grateful for everything they've done for me." Rose took a deep shaky breath before speaking the next few words. "And I also ask that you bless my family, wherever they are. Let them know that I…I…let them know that I love them and I Think about them every day. Let them know that I'm trying to find a way to get back to them. And pleas, Father, keep them safe. I ask all these things in your precious name, Amen." With that, Rose sat there for awhile, just enjoying the peaceful silence and God's presence. She believed in him whole heartedly and she knew God was the reason she and Jake had found one another.
After sitting there for a little while longer, Rose got up and got ready for bed. Even though it was only nine-thirty, Rose was tired and she needed the rest. She was going to take advantage of her time alone and let her body and mind rest.
As Rose lay there a few minutes later, she started thinking about whatever Jake was planning for her. She thought it was sweet of him to think of her like that. Rose's heart melted at how much Jake loved her. She felt the same way about him and hoped he knew it as well.
As Rose fell asleep that night, her last thoughts were of her family. She prayed she would find them again. Little did Rose know that somewhere off to the east of the city, her little sister, Samantha, was praying for the exact same thing.
"And God bless Mommy and Daddy and Violet and Rebecca." The little girl said as she continued with her prayer. "And God, please bless my sister, Rose and let her know we love her and we want her to come back home. And I hope she has a good Christmas. Amen."
A woman with hair the color of sunflowers, smiled down at her second youngest and hugged her tightly.
"That was beautiful Sammie," she said, kissing the little girl, Samantha's, cheek.
Samantha, Sammie, smiled.
"Thank you Mommy." She then got a hopeful look in her eye and said, "Do you think Rose will come home?"
"I don't know, sweetie," the woman stated, rubbing Sammie's back gently. "I just don't know. I hope so."
Sammie nodded and smiled to herself. She didn't know why, due to only being seven years old, but she had a feeling Rose would come home soon.
"Try and get some sleep now, okay? Tomorrow is Christmas eve and then tomorrow night…"
"Santa comes!" Sammie shouted, excitedly.
"That's right. Sweet dreams, honey. I love you."
"I love you too, Mommy." Sammie replied, giving her mother a hug and kiss.
Samantha's mother smiled as she left the room. She loved all three of her children very much and she hoped that they would have a nice Christmas. But what Samantha's mother wanted more than anything was to have her middle daughter home again. She wanted Rose back with them and safe.
"Please, Father," she said, once outside of Sammie's bedroom door. "Please protect Rose and bring her back to us. Please. Amen." With that, the woman, Lucy, made her way back to Samantha's room and checked on her one last time before going to bed.
Lucy was planning on taking Samantha and her little sister, Rebecca, to see Santa Clause tomorrow. She hoped that would cheer them up. Her eldest, Violet, who was Rose's twin, was going through a hard time and didn't believe in Santa anymore. This was due to missing Rose and Lucy prayed that Violet's faith would return. Violet was still a child and she deserved to have her faith in Santa, if nothing else.
Jake, meanwhile, had been searching around for the perfect Christmas gift for Rose all day, but with no avail. It was nearing midnight and Jake was getting tired. He had also been patrolling and found it strange that he and Rose hadn't met as the American Dragon and Huntsgirl. They often met while doing their prospective patrols.
If the Huntsman was with Rose, Jake would pretend to fight her, just to keep up appearances.
Rose, for her part, would make it look real, but always left her staff on mild when she fought Jake, so that she wouldn't hurt him too badly. She loved Jake too much to seriously injure him.
Jake sighed as he flew home. He would pick up the search tomorrow, and hopefully find the perfect gift for his Rosebud. He loved her with all his heart and he was determined to make this Christmas Rose's best Christmas ever.
The next day, Jake awoke around eleven AM. He had wanted to get an early start, but apparently his body and mind had other plans.
After he ate a plate of pancakes and bacon, Jake flew out the door, not wanting to waste anymore time. He had gotten his parents permission to use the living room for his party. They had even said Rose could sleepover, as long as she took the guestroom and Jake slept in his own.
Jake was grateful to his parents and as he flew along the streets of NYC, he smiled. Just maybe he would be able to give Rose the best Christmas ever.
Jake flew around the various street venders for a little bit before deciding to hit the mall. He had saved up some cash and was hoping to pick up something for Rose there. Little did Jake know what he was going to find when he arrived.
Upon arriving at the mall, Jake transformed back into his human form and walked inside. The minute he stepped through the double doors, Christmas music and the smell of food and various perfume met his ears and nose. He loved the mall at Christmas time. And as he walked through the main store to get to the mall, he had a feeling he was in the right place. He didn't understand why he felt that way, but he just knew he was in the right place.
Jake walked around for a few minutes before deciding to get something to drink. He was thirsty and he had two hours to look around. He was bound to find something for Rose in that amount of time.
As Jake was paying for his drink, he heard a familiar ho ho ho coming from just behind him to his left. Normally, Jake wasn't much for Santa, but something was telling him to check it out, so he did. He took his drink and change from the clerk and went to watch the kids talk to Santa from afar.
Crouching behind a pillar, Jake watched as child after child sat upon Santa's lap. For the first ten minutes, it wasn't anything new. Kids asked for various toys and books and Santa told them he would do his best.
Jake was about to leave, but was stopped when he saw a little girl approach Santa. She had dark blond hair and brown eyes. Her face was set in a determined expression. One Jake had seen on another face many times before.
Jake squinted, trying to get a closer look at the little girl. He moved a little closer, thanking the Father that there was another pillar to hide behind. Now he could hear the conversation more clearly while still keeping out of sight. But to make sure he didn't miss a word, he whispered, "Ear of the dragon." Before becoming silent again.
As Jake watched the little girl be lifted onto Santa's lap, he felt a sudden realization hit him. That little girl looked a lot like Rose did when she was little. Jake brushed the feeling aside and concentrated on the scene in front of him. A lot of kids looked the same when they were little. Haley had even had blond hair when she was little until it had turned brown a few weeks after she was born.
"Well, hello there, darling. And what's your name?" Santa asked, smiling down at the child.
The little girl smiled, showing no fear.
"Samantha. But they call me Sammie."
"Aw, well it's nice to meet you, Sammie. Have you been a good girl this year?"
"Yup. My Mommy says I have. I Help her with Rebecca. Rebeccas' my baby sister. She's three!"
"Aw, that's nice. So, what can Santa bring you for Christmas? A doll? or maybe a new puppy?"
Sammie shook her head, surprising Santa. She took a deep breath before telling Santa what she wanted. When she spoke, Jake was shocked at what he heard.
"I want my older sister to come home."
Santa was taken aback by Sammie's reply. He had expected her to say she wanted a doll or even a bike, but instead, this little girl had surprised him beyond words.
Seeing that Santa was listening intently, Sammie continued.
"She was kidnapped when I was three and we miss her a lot. She used to tell me stories and cuddle with me when I was sick and she was really nice. I miss her a lot and my sister, Violet does too. Violet is Rose's twin. She misses her too. Can you bring Rose home for us? Please, Santa? That would make my family really happy."
Santa was left speechless. He couldn't speak for a few minutes, but then he finally regained his voice. Never in his ten years of being a mall Santa, had he ever come in contact with a child with a heart as pure as Sammie's.
Finally, Santa spoke.
"I'll try my best, honey. But just in case I have trouble, is there anything else you want me to bring you?"
Sammie shook her head and gave Santa a hug, followed by a pat on his shoulder.
"You can do it, Santa. I know you can." With that, Sammie hopped down and went back to her mother.
"Girls, wait here," Lucy said, giving Violet the signal to watch Sammie.
Violet did so, not letting her out of her sight. She and Sammie had become close since Rose had been kidnapped five years ago and they were rarely seen apart.
Lucy stepped up to Santa and gave him a smile.
"I'm so sorry about Sammie. She has it in her mind that you can do anything and I don't want to disappoint her, but…" Her voice trailed off as she handed Santa a little list of toys Sammie had asked for from her family.
Santa took it, but gave Lucy a smile and a wink.
"I wouldn't give up hope just yet, Lucy. Anything is possible. And miracles are all around us. They happen when you most believe in them. And your little girl is a prime example of the faith a child can possess. You don't have to be sorry for anything and neither does she. Sammie has it right. And as for Rose, I will do my best. After all, Christmas is a time when miracles happen."
Lucy nodded, taken aback that Santa knew her name.
"How did you know my name."
"Trade secret. Now, you have a nice day and spend it with your children. They need you. Violet especially."
"I wish I could do something about her faith." Lucy said, sighing. "She hasn't been the same since Rose was taken."
Santa nodded sympathetically.
"I wouldn't worry about Violet's faith. I think it'll be restored sooner than you think. Go on now. I have reindeer to feed."
Lucy nodded and gave Santa a smile before leaving to retrieve her girls.
As Jake stood there, he couldn't believe his ears or his eyes. He had done it. He had found Rose the perfect gift and it was all because he had taken the time to search for it. And not with his eyes, but with his heart. If he hadn't stayed to listen to that little girl, Sammie, he would have missed his chance.
As Jake turned to leave, he heard someone call his name.
"Jake, are you just going to stand there all day, or are you going to tell me what you want for Christmas."
Jake started and turned around to see a Santa standing in back of him. He was identical to the one sitting on the seat in front of him.
"You're…you're the real…but it can't be."
The real Santa chuckled.
"It can and it is. Remember what Chuck said," Santa told him, referring to the mall version of himself. "Christmas is a time for miracles. And I think you're about to make one family's miracle come true. I also think you're about to restore a little girl's faith in God."
Jake nodded, not needing any prompting. He knew exactly what he needed to do. He only hoped he wasn't too late. As he went, he picked up a stuffed animal that he was sure belonged to Sammie. He remembered the little girl having a stuffed dragon in her hand when she had gone to see Santa.
"Hey! Hey, yo!! Wait up!" He called, stopping just a few feet away from the family. "I think you forgot something." He held out the stuffed animal, trying to show the family he meant no harm.
"Thank you, young man," Lucy said, taking the dragon from Jake. She handed it to her second youngest daughter, who hugged it tightly. "Sammie, what do you say, sweetie?"
"Thank you," Sammie replied, smiling at Jake.
"You're welcome." Jake said, not being able to hide his smile. This little girl was cute. She was sweet as well. Not anything like Haley. Jake then turned his attention to Lucy. "Merry Christmas."
"Same to you, young man." Lucy said, giving Jake a smile. She then turned around to see that Violet was gazing at a display of dolls. "Violet Alexandria Miller I said no."
Jake tried to look innocent, but he smiled inwardly. He had gotten the info he needed without even having to ask. Now all he had to do was look it up in the phone book and he would be set.
"Well, I have to go. I'm planning a Christmas party for my friends and girlfriend and I need to get some food."
"Still need to shop for the perfect gift for her?" She asked, trying to make short conversation.
Jake shook his head an smiled sincerely.
"I think I already found her the perfect gift." He replied, sincerely. He then walked over to Violet and gave her a smile. "Don't worry, Violet. Santa knows what you want and he's got you covered."
Violet glared at Jake.
"Santa isn't real. And he can't bring me what I want."
"Yes he can!" Sammie argued, the sparkle in her brown eyes giving off a certain faith that Jake saw in Rose every day.
"Sammie's right," Jake said, smiling at the little girl. "Santa is real as you and me and he can do anything. But even more important, God knows what you want as well. He knows and he's going to try his best to help you.""
Violet scowled before turning away from Jake.
"How do you know my daughter's name?" Lucy asked, a motherly protectiveness to her tone.
"I saw her get on Santa's lap." Jake explained. "I was looking for a gift for my girlfriend, Rose, and I couldn't help but overhear their conversation."
Lucy nodded. She didn't even let the fact that Jake had said Rose's name penetrate her mind. A lot of children were named Rose. And for it to be her long lost daughter that this young man was speaking of, would be hoping for too much.
"Rose?" Sammie asked, jumping at the string of hope she had in her heart. "Your friend's name is Rose."
"That's my sister's name too." Sammie told him.
Jake tried to look innocent.
"It is?" He asked, even though he had heard the entire conversation between Sammie and the mall Santa.
"Uh-huh. I asked Santa to bring her home for Christmas. She was kidnapped and we really miss her."
Jake knelt down to Sammie's level and looked her directly in the eye as he spoke.
"Don't give up, Sammie," he said, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Rose will come home. I can almost guarantee it."
Sammie's smile grew.
"Well, we have to get home now," Lucy told Jake. "It was nice to meet you…" Lucy's voice trailed off as she failed to come up with Jake's name.
"Jake. Jake Long." Jake said, offering his hand.
"It's nice to meet you Jake." She then ushered her children forward. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas to you too," Jake said, before turning around in the direction of the food store. He did have some last minute snacks to pick up before tomorrow night's party.
"Where are we going?" Rose asked, as Jake led her down a side street and into a really nice part of the city.
"You'll see," Jake said, trying to keep the secret to himself. He had decided to give Rose her gift early. He only prayed and hoped she would like it.
"Jake, come on, please tell me." Rose begged, her blue eyes gazing into his chocolate brown ones with something of pleading in them.
Jake shook his head.
"If I did that, then it wouldn't be a surprise. Trust me, you'll like it."
Rose nodded. She did trust Jake, but she still would have liked to know what he was up to.
They turned onto another street and Jake stopped at a house with a driveway and a swing set in the backyard. He led Rose up the stairs and rang the doorbell. Before anyone answered, he told Rose to hide until the time was right.
Rose was reluctant at first, but Jake convinced her that it was okay. She hid behind the post on the sidewalk and waited for Jake's cue.
Just as Rose secured her hiding place, the door opened and Sammie stood there. She grinned in recognition when she saw Jake.
"Mommy! Mommy! It's Jake! Jake came to visit us!"
Jake smiled as Sammie gave him a hug and he returned it. He wished Haley was like that. He did love his sister and she was sweet sometimes, but most of the time, she was just plain annoying.
Lucy came to the door just then and smiled at Jake.
"Well hello there, Jake. It's nice to see you again. What are you doing here?'
"I just dropped by to deliver a very special Christmas gift. Santa asked me to do it for him. And he also asked me to give Violet this." He handed Lucy a note that was indeed written by Santa himself.
"Thank you. I'll make sure she gets it." Lucy put the letter in her pocket. She then gave Jake a curious look. But before she could ask the question that was burning on her mind, Sammie voiced it for her.
"What did Santa tell you to bring us?" Sammie asked, a smile spreading across her face.
Jake decided to drag it out for a few minutes, just to make it fun for Sammie.
"Well…" He said, kneeling down to her level and gazing into her brown eyes, "what was the one thing you asked Santa to bring you for Christmas?"
Sammie's eyes lit up and her smile grew.
"I asked him to bring Rose back." She said, slowly grasping where Jake was going with this.
Jake nodded. He smiled and took her hand in his.
Lucy allowed this. She had a strange feeling that she could trust Jake, but she couldn't place why she felt that way. She just figured God trusted him and she trusted the Father with all her heart.
"Sammie, do you believe in miracles?" Jake asked, his gaze intent, but kind.
"Yes I do." She said.
Jake nodded and stood up. He turned around and motioned with his hand for Rose to come out. He hoped she had seen his signal. He was proved right when Rose stepped out from her hiding place and made her way over to them.
Sammie saw her first and wasted no time in rushing to her arms.
"Rose! Rose! You're back! You're back! Yes! Yes! Yes!" She flew into Rose's waiting arms, nearly knocking her over.
Rose regained her balance as she picked Sammie up and hugged her close. She planted a kiss on her head and one on her cheek before hugging her close once again.
Both girls were crying tears of joy by now and Sammie had a death grip around Rose's neck as Rose carried her back to where Jake and Lucy were standing.
"Mommy! Mommy, look! Jake brought Rose back to us! Miracles are real! Miracles are real!"
Lucy could only smile as she let the tears of joy fall from her blue eyes. She had prayed for this day for the past five years and now it was finally here.
Rose set Sammie down and patted her shoulder gently. The little girl gave her another hug before racing into the house screaming Violet's name. She wanted her other sister to see this. She wanted to prove to her sister once and for all, that miracles were real.
"Merry Christmas, Rose," Jake said, a grin spreading across his face as he watched Rose reunite with her family. "Merry Christmas."
Sammie returned with Violet a few minutes later.
"See?" Sammie said, her grin lighting up her face. "See? I told you Santa could do anything! He brought Rose back home! Miracles are real!"
Violet couldn't speak for a moment due to shock. She stood there, staring at Rose for a mere two minutes before launching herself at her twin. She gave her a hug and both sisters stayed that way for a long time.
When they finally pulled away, Violet gave Rose another hug and whispered tearfully, "Rose, never leave us again! Don't ever leave me again."
"I won't," Rose promised, stroking Violet's hair gently. "I promise. I'm here to stay for good." Then smiling back at Jake, she added, "Jake will make sure of that."
Violet nodded and wiped at her eyes. She then turned to Jake and gave him a grateful smile. She threw her arms around him, surprising the young man.
"Thank you," was all she managed to say before pulling away and going to Rose's side again.
"You're welcome," Jake replied, before giving Sammie a small package.
Inside was a stuffed cat with a Santa hat on his head.
"Thank you," Sammie said, without any prompting from her mother.
"Aw, you're welcome kiddo," Jake said, before turning to leave. He wanted to give Rose some time alone with her family. She hadn't seen them in five years and they had a lot of catching up to do.
Jake had barely gained the sidewalk before he felt a familiar pair of arms snake around his neck. He leaned into the familiar embrace and gave Rose a kiss.
"Thank you, Jake." Rose said, her voice tearful, but full of gratitude nonetheless. "Thank you for giving me the best gift of all. Thank you for helping me find my family."
"You're welcome," Jake said, giving Rose another kiss before hugging her close. "I love you, my Rosebud."
"I love you too, dragon boy. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas, Rose." With that, Jake and Rose embraced one more time. After they pulled away, Rose went to join her family and catch up on five years of not being with them. She promised Jake that she would still come to his party and Jake was happy to hear that. He invited Rose's whole family and Lucy promised Jake they would be there, minus Rose's father, Simon, who was on a business trip and wouldn't be arriving till after Christmas.
As Jake left, he smiled to himself. He was glad that Rose liked her gift and he thanked God for helping him to give Rose the best Christmas ever. He had been able to keep his promise to Rose in the end, and that's all that mattered to Jake at the moment.
Before going home, Jake hit the local food market and picked up some last minute food items he needed for the party. He wanted to make some taco appetizers, along with some shrimp ones, so he had to get the right ingredients. He knew Rose liked shrimp and he wanted to make her a special treat.
Later that night, Violet lay in her bed after having hot chocolate with her family. She and Rose had spent the entire night talking and getting to know each other again. As they talked, it felt like Rose had never left.
Sammie had wanted her sister's attention as well and Rose had spent some time with the child and had tucked her in when her bedtime rolled around.
Rose was glad to be back with the people who truly loved her and she couldn't thank Jake enough for what he had done for her. He had really given her the best gift of all.
As Violet lay there, she remembered the note that Jake had delivered from Santa. She reached over to her nightstand and picked it up. She slid it out of the envelope and began to read it.
"Dear Violet, I hope this letter finds you well. I hope you and your family have a merry Christmas. I'm sorry that I couldn't deliver your gift myself, but I had a special friend do it for me. Remember that miracles are real and they can happen anytime. But Christmas is a time for them to occur the most. I hope you never lose your faith in God. Have fun with your sister and I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and happy new year. Santa."
By the time Violet was done reading the letter, she was crying from happiness and realization. She had had Santa all wrong. He was real and so were miracles. But the real person she had to thank was Jake. And to her, Jake would always be an angel. The angel who had brought her sister back to her.
Violet would never forget the miracle that had taken place for her and her family that Christmas. She would never lose her faith in God again either. But most importantly, Violet would always remember that miracles were reel and she would always believe in them from now on. After all, her twin, who lay asleep in the bed across from hers, was living proof of that.
Before going to sleep, Violet got onto her knees and closed her eyes before uttering three words. "Thank you Father. Thank you." With that, Violet fell asleep to sweet dreams for the first time in five years. Violet didn't have to worry about Rose being taken away again. It was a comfort that Violet was still getting used to, but it was one that warmed her heart all the same. She knew that when she woke up, Rose would be there. And that was enough for Violet at the moment.
The next day, Jake's party went off without a hitch. Unless you count Spud eating too much food and getting the world's biggest stomachache, but that was Spud for you.
Other than that, everything went by smoothly.
When Rose and her family arrived, Trixie's mouth dropped open at the sight and she pulled Jake aside.
"Jakey, how did you do it?" She asked, amazed at her friend's work.
Jake smiled as he glanced out of the window.
"Let's just say I had help from a few friends in very high and cold places." With that, Jake led Trixie back into the living room to join the party.
Jake was quickly stopped by Sammie who gave him a hug, followed by Rose. He relished in hugging his girlfriend and they stepped out onto the porch to have a moment alone.
"I just want to thank you again for everything," Rose said, laying her head on Jake's shoulder. "This has been the best Christmas ever and I have you to thank for it."
Jake nodded and gave Rose a kiss while holding her close.
"No problem, baby. You know the AmDrag always keeps his word." He then grew serious and planted a kiss on Rose's cheek. "But I'm glad you're finally happy. That's all I wanted for Christmas. And I think it's safe to say that we both got what we wanted this year."
Rose nodded as she returned the kiss.
"I think you're right. Merry Christmas, dragon boy."
Jake chuckled as he transformed into a dragon and Rose climbed onto his back.
"Merry Christmas to you too, my Rosebud. I love you. Come on, let's go."
"Where are we going?" Rose asked, a curious note to her voice.
Jake smirked while giving Rose a knowing look.
"It's a surprise." He told her. "Don't worry, you'll like it." With that, Jake flew into the air with Rose on his back. They flew through the nighttime sky, the snowflakes falling around them like crystals from Heaven above.