12 Days of Christmas Tales

Author's Notes: Well hello there! I'm basically done with my final semester of grad school and I felt like celebrating by bringing a series of Christmas stories since Christmas is 13 days away (I can't believe it either!). None of these stories are related… they're just different ideas I've had running in my mind and I thought I'd share. Hopefully I'll have something new every day so it'll really be 12 days of Christmas tales, but we'll see about that. Merry Christmas and enjoy!

1. The Gift

Serena had a wonderful Christmas morning with her family and was overjoyed when she saw that she got a sled for one of her presents, especially when it actually snowed for Christmas this year. She decided to go to the park to play with her new sled where she knew of the perfect hill to try it out. She invited her little brother to come with her, but he was too busy playing the new video games he got. Serena excitedly arrived at the park not expecting to see anyone since they would probably be busy with their own Christmas festivities, but she was surprised as she passed the frozen lake to see someone sitting by himself on a bench. She thought he looked familiar with the mop of black hair and as she got closer her suspicions were confirmed. She missed her daily run in with him so she decided to say hello; it was Christmas after all. She took a seat next to him. "Merry Christmas, Jerk Face," she said playfully.

"Hi Serena," he said quietly without looking at her.

She frowned. His voice sounded so sad and he had even called her by name. "Are you ok?"

"I'm fine," he answered monotonously.

"You don't sound fine. Seriously… what's wrong, Darien?"

He looked up at her for the first time and stared for a bit. "I'd rather not talk about it," he finally said. "You wouldn't understand anyway." He got up. "Enjoy the rest of your Christmas, Meatball Head."

Serena watched sadly as he walked away with slumped shoulders. Something was definitely wrong and she felt awful about it even though she didn't know what it was. Suddenly she didn't feel like going sledding anymore as an idea came in her head. She hurried home to make some arrangements.

Darien closed his apartment door and hung up his coat. He hoped that spending some time alone in the park would help clear his head, but it seemed to make it worse. It didn't help that Serena unexpectedly show up either, not to say that he wasn't glad to see her. If he had stayed there any longer he surely would have broken down and embarrassed himself in front of her. He took a seat on his couch in the den and held his head in his hands. This marked the thirteenth anniversary of the day his parents were taken away from him and here he was all alone again. He didn't want to think about it. He just laid on the couch and closed his eyes hoping to sleep the rest of the day away until he had to go to Andrew's house for dinner. Everything didn't go as planned however as knocking interrupted his sleep after a while. He stretched and checked the time noting that he had been sleeping for a few hours. He rubbed his eyes and tried to ignore the knocking figuring it was some carolers, but the knocking just got louder and faster. He sighed and finally went to answer the door. When he opened it he was surprised to see Serena standing there. "Meatball Head, what are you…?"

He was interrupted by her suddenly hugging him as tight as she could, but not tight enough to prevent him from breathing. Darien was confused at first. Serena was his "enemy" yet here she was at the door just hugging him. It seemed as though she was putting all of her love and energy into the hug and it amazed him that she seemed to care so much. He shyly started to hug her back and when his arms were around her something triggered inside. It just felt right for her to be in his arms at that moment and he realized that this was exactly what he needed. He closed his eyes as he continued to hold onto her wishing that this moment could last forever. "Darien," Serena said after a while.

Darien smiled at her nervously before he finally let her go and remembered his manners. He cleared his throat. "Would you like to come in?"

Serena nodded and stepped inside as he closed the door behind her. She let him lead the way into his den where they sat together on his couch. "You looked so sad when I saw you at the park earlier so I came to give you your Christmas present." She held out a present he just noticed that she was holding the entire time. "Open it," she said cheerfully.

Darien did as he was told and opened the package slowly. His throat tightened when he saw what it was and took it out of the box. It was a silver picture frame that had the words "friendship grows from the heart." What got to him was the little note Serena had written: "know you are loved." It suddenly hit him that no one had shown this much loving affection towards him since before the accident and he was greatly touched by Serena's kindness. He looked at her with tear filled eyes. "Thank you," he said hoarsely.

Serena hugged him again. "It's ok to cry if you need to," she whispered to him. "I won't tell anyone." She felt him return the hug and before she knew it he was crying on her shoulder. She simply rubbed his back and held him in silence.

"I'm glad you came today," he whispered to her after a while.

She smiled at him. "Are you ok?"

He let her go and sniffled. "I will be."

"You can talk to me anytime you want. Even though we fight a lot, I still consider you one of my friends."

"I'll remember that."

"I have to get home for Christmas dinner," she said as she got up.

He stood up with her. "I'd hate to see what happens when you miss a meal."

Serena smiled at him. "There's the Jerk Face I know and love." She looked at him seriously. "Would you like to have dinner with us? I'm sure my family wouldn't mind."

"Thanks for the offer, but I'm having dinner with Andrew's family." He hugged her again. "Thank you for making this Christmas special, Meatball Head. I'll never forget it."

Serena returned the hug. "That's what friends are for." She let him go and he opened the front door for her. Before she left she stood there and smiled at him. "Merry Christmas, Darien."

"Merry Christmas, Serena." She waved to him before running down the stairs and he closed the door. It was amazing how one gift could change his world forever. He promised himself he would tell her just how much this meant to him someday, but for now it was enough to know he was loved.