Disclaimer: Dark Angel belongs to James Cameron and others. I make no money with this story.

A/N: My Secret Santa gift to one of my favorite authors, the amazing Insane Troll Logic. She didn't want 1) Sex 2) Fluff 3) Christmas music and wanted – among other things – "Sketchy getting someone high". ITL, I hope this story is worthy of your awesomeness. A wave to my lovely beta Lisa0316; all remaining mistakes are products of my stubbornness. Tiger Studios Proudly Presents:

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS AND EYES ONLY STOLE IT BACK

Chapter One

The day was like every other day before a major holiday. Grey clouds in the sky mingled with sunshine, but it didn't rain and the streets had dried after the storm from the night before. A new mayor had spent extra money on decorations for the main streets and squares. It was the first winter in a decade that promised to pass without food riots. Seattle's citizens were hopeful and the crime rates declined to the newest low in post-pulse history. Tiny Christmas markets bloomed at every corner. This overwhelming busyness of bustling holiday activity had even infiltrated the usually calm and laid back bike messengers at Jam Pony who, encouraged by the gleaming eyes and smiling faces of their clients whenever they delivered a Christmas gift, actually worked today. Normal called run after run and his messengers delivered parcel after parcel for families that didn't have the sector passes to do it themselves. It was different and delightful to see kids and grandparents instead of grumpy receptionists. Max blushed when an old man told her that "angel" had its origins in the ancient Greek word for "messenger".

When it came to lunch break, Max and her friends gathered around the battered old leather coaches in front of the TV. KJPK was reporting about the first annual Christmas broadcast hosted by Mary Lou Weininger, while the "Merry Gang of Horror," as Normal very openly called them, discussed their plans for the holidays.

Sketchy and Natalie would spend a traditional Christmas with her parents. The mere idea made him tremble in fear, since the shared Thanksgiving celebrations had been everything but traditional. Natalie's task had it been to prepare the stuffing for the chicken they had managed to get, and unfortunately Sketchy had been hiding some mushrooms of the magic kind in a kitchen jar. It had taken three strong neighbours to get Natalie's naked father off the roof top. There had been no denying the source.

Herbal and his woman were big Christmas fans and had already celebrated on the 23rd of July and the whole month of December. Normal had told him off countless times for singing "On the fif day of Crismus mah true love gave to me …Five gyals a moggle in a shawts...Oh Lawd!...Four sky juice…Chree ginger beer…Two blackbud…And a mango from a lime tree!" at work. There were different theories among the bike messengers why Christmas songs made Normal completely flip out. After awhile, all of them decided that it would be wiser not to taunt him with his "carolophobia" if they wanted to keep their jobs. Jam Pony was a Christmas Carol-free zone.

Original Cindy and Max didn't have plans but had unanimously decided that accepting Kendra's invitation wasn't an option. "I tell ya, she's all over him all the time, and Original Cindy doesn't need that sight when she's tryin to eat turkey. Talk about regurgitating…"

"Turkey? You think they'll have a turkey?" Max's pretty face got dreamy at this thought, and she silently reconsidered her previous decision. How bad could it really be?

"He's a cop. I'm sure he can get one. – And I know who else will sure as hell have one…"

Max was still lost in reverie of juicy meat and didn't notice how suddenly every head was turned in her direction. "Max?"

"Hmm… What?"

"Don't you think rich boy will treat you really nice this time of the year? And didn't he page you like two minutes ago?"

Usually Max would have immediately disclaimed every comment about her and rich boy and being treated nicely, but this was about food and therefore serious business.

"He might do something. Maybe I should … Hey OC, can I borrow that low-cut green and white top of yours?"

XoXoXoXoXoXo

Miles away, in a top secret government facility, a group of Manticore lab technicians were enjoying their lunch break and sandwiches with two members of the secretary pool. "Is it true it's back?" asked Wayne, one of the older and respected DNA specialists. "That's why were back on orange alert?" Rosalyn, Lydecker's head secretary, nodded. "We got the news at four hundred. The boss thinks the evidence is genuine. It's in Seattle."

"What or who is 'it'?" asked one of the newbies, a young guy who was actually called Tom Sawyer. Others in the round rolled their eyes. Rosalyn decided that it was probably for the best to completely ignore that kid. He had to learn that you should never ask stupid questions like that if you wanted to survive in Manticore.

"It's a shame really. Did you work with Dr. Geisel, Wayne? Such a nice man." Wayne nodded pensively. "He was a pioneer and a genius. I never understood how they could allow his brother to exploit his work like that." Rosalyn sighed. "A real gentleman."

"Any idea what the beast is up to this time? It has been on the run for such a long time."

"Escaped in 1955, I think. Actually, that's the first trace we have had of it since the pulse. We assumed that it had been a casualty of the '09 winter. But our sources are absolutely trustworthy. It's back".

XoXoXoXoXoXoXo

The penthouse wasn't decorated at all. Eyes Only might have been a big fan of the holidays, sharing, and charity, but for Logan Cale Christmas meant alcohol, visits from unwelcome relatives or simply being the unwelcome relative himself. The exciting developments of the day had helped him ignore Bling's nagging about festive decorations, had been a good reason for a chat with Sebastian, and – most of all – had given him something to talk about during his annual holiday phone call with Uncle Jonas. Thus when Max Guevara – super soldier, tough chick, chocoholic – finally arrived at his personal Hall of Justice, he didn't even look up from his computer screen, welcoming her with a not exactly welcoming "You finished work two hours ago. What exactly took you so long?"

Max, who had taken extra time dressing up for him after a very stressful day at work, just stared at the back of his head and used all her self-control not to snap his neck for that. "I'll warn you only once. You should keep in mind that I'm really strong, Logan."

"Oh, never mind" Logan said and swivelled his chair around. The sight of Max in a very revealing top made him immediately regret his prior comment and left him with a suddenly very dry tongue. "Hmmpf… We have to… Max, you're half-naked."

"Most guys usually like that."

"Mostly, I'm not the usual guy."

Max inwardly reminded herself of forgiveness and the true meaning of Christmas, as well as her ulterior motive of getting a turkey out of this man. It was a hard fight, but turkey won over pride.

"So, what's burning?" she smiled sweetly, crossing her arms in front of her chest with the best intentions and the worst result – or best, depending on the point of view.

"Well, ah, I got news that Lydecker will..." Logan stumbled over the words in his mouth, captivated by the caramel curves before him like a kid in the candy store.

"Lydecker will WHAT?"

With the discipline that had turned him into a folk hero, Logan took all the x-rated thoughts in his head and locked them firmly in the depths of his subconscious mind. What sacrifices that guy would make for the greater good. "It will take awhile to explain and we don't have much time, so we better talk in the car. Could you do me a favour and wear that?" He took a parcel from his desk and threw it towards her general direction. Max eyed its content suspiciously. It seemed to be some sort of velvet bathing suit. "I fixed sandwiches in case you're hungry."

"Give me thirty secs."

XoXoXoXoXoXo

Mary Lou Weininger – TV host, slut, Clay Aiken fan - had always been a rebel. Even in her earliest memories of a childhood in red state America, she had known that she was different. Always the one that wouldn't sit still in church, the only one that didn't want to wait, the only one that hated Christmas. Mary Lou didn't even know when exactly it had started or what had been the cause…there had been so many things. Her older sisters, the twins Cindy Lou and Mary Sue, had been "perfect little angels" who loved the holidays. Mary Lou, however, was sure that the fat guy with the beard at the mall wasn't the real Santa Claus. If he wasn't the real one when everyone claimed he was, then who could she trust? She detested her ghastly family that made her celebrate and had given her that joke of a name, the other kids who made fun of her for being "Mary Lou Who", and the teachers that didn't protect her. There were so many reasons to despise Christmas that by the time she was in second grade, her hate had set deep roots and she ended up setting the Christmas tree on fire.

Over the years, her talent for mischief developed and no ordeal could put her off her goals. She had sabotaged the electricity supply for the whole town once, and the whining and wailing of its citizens didn't stir any regrets. Christmas was phoney and she wanted the world to know it.

In her teens, she extended her disgust to the whole world and from that time on everything she did was meant to shock. She dyed her hair, smoked things, drank stuff, and had sex with all kinds of people. For the best three months of her high school career, she dated her math teacher, a nice young woman in her first year of teaching who didn't even know what hit her. But she also helped Mary Lou to get a scholarship for Yale.

More than ten years later, she met him in a self help group for people with father issues. They both hated Santa Claus. He had green body hair and pink eyes. Of course, she fell madly in love with him.

Today he had told her about his plans for Christmas 2019.

XoXoXoXoXoXoXo

After story:

"Angel" is really derived from the Ancient Greek άγγελος (angelos) and means "messenger". I often wondered if it was a coincidence that the Dark Angel was a bike messenger.

The song Herbal sings and other information about a typical Jamaican Christmas can be found at : jamaicans (dot) com/culture/christmas/MissJAatChristmas.shtlm

23rd of July is the birthday of Haile Selassie, the messiah of the Rastafarian faith.

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