Author notes: I wrote a fic years ago in this same format, with each letter of the alphabet representing a short story related to Christmas revolving around Buffy, Faith, and their daughter Callie (obviously AU). I decided to do the same thing this year, only in the AU parallel universe to my series Watch My Back- a companion piece to my story Mine. So each short Christmas inspired story revolves around the assumption that Diana Dormer is raising both teenage Faith and Legs/Sheena Sadovsky. These will mostly be short and silly, but there will be some serious ones thrown in too.

Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, I just enjoy taking them out to play with.

A is for Angel

It did not surprise Diana to find her "adopted" daughter standing in their living room, her body very still, face serious and intent as she stared up at the large, lavishly decorated tree that was the room's centerpiece of attention. Ever since she, Sheena, and her other adopted daughter, Faith, had put the tree in its place only two days before, it seemed that Sheena could not walk through the room without stopping to gaze up at it, a pleased smile curving her lips, her dark blue eyes wide and glowing softly.

It warmed Diana's heart to see her obvious enjoyment every time, the fact that even now it seemed that Sheena had to tell herself at times that what she had and the life she lead was her own. This was the first Christmas Sheena had celebrated in years, certainly the first Christmas tree she had had, and it did not surprise her that the girl was so often drawn to simply stop and gaze at their tree in wonder of its very presence.

But this time as Diana watched her she saw that there was no smile on Sheena's lips and a thoughtful sadness to her eyes, and she drew closer to her, careful not to make noise and startle her. Sheena looked over, the reflective essence of not leaving her eyes as she gestured toward the upper section of the tree.

"Diana…do you believe in angels? That they're really real…maybe not on earth, but somewhere?"

Diana studied Sheena's face, and seeing that this was no idle curiosity on her part, but rather something preying on her thoughts, she smiled back at her gently, laying a hand on her shoulder.

"Well, Sheena, what are your thoughts on the matter?"

As usual, Sheena reacted positively to Diana's touch, stepping closer so their arms touched. Diana resisted the urge to put her arms around her just then as she waited patiently for Sheena to sort through her thoughts.

"Well…there's all this evil stuff out there we always learn about, the stuff Faith fights," she said finally, her words slow, careful. "Monsters and vampires and demons and all that…so…if there's all that bad stuff, shouldn't there be good stuff too, to balance it out? Shouldn't there be things like…I don't know. I mean, maybe not these things, but things like them…fairies, or good spirits, or gods, or God, or…well…angels?"

Though her tone was musing, questioning, when Sheena's eyes met hers, Diana saw the hope burning fervently in their surface, a hope that was almost a need, and though she did not quite understand the reasons for it, she was not about to deter her.

She did slip her arm around the girl then, drawing her to her side and giving her a light squeeze around the shoulders as she replied, looking over at the slightly taller Sheena with a smile.

"I believe that our world is one of many wonders and marvels, Sheena, with the miraculous occurring on a daily basis…and with all the good still continuing in this world, it would not surprise me at all if angels were the cause of some of it."

Sheena leaned into the embrace, and though she did not slip her arm around Diana's waist in return, her arm pressed closely against her side as if she wished but didn't quite dare to do so.

"Do you think they watch over us?" she said softly after a few moments, and she was looking at the tree again, her eyes fixed on the angel that she herself, having the longest arms and legs, had placed at the top. "Like, floating around where we can't see? Right here on earth…is that what people are, once they die?"

Diana regarded Sheena with mild surprise, wondering at this line of thought, for both she and Faith had never before expressed any interest at all in speaking about death or an afterlife. Diana had assumed that because they were teenagers, they rarely thought about it as a possibility connected to themselves or those they knew- even Faith, who risked her life on a regular basis slaying. Or perhaps they became too uneasy, too personally haunted by their own losses when the subject arose to dwell on it long.

But now as she watched Sheena, attempting to understand what answers she needed, Sheena spoke again very softly, and Diana's mystery was resolved.

"It would be really cool if my mom could do that…see me. How I'm alright now. I'd kind of like it if she could."

So that was it…Sheena's mother, deceased now for fourteen years, but still not absent from her thoughts. At seventeen, Sheena very rarely spoke of her, never once mentioned that she might miss her even now, even with the few, faint memories that must remain, but those few sentences, spoken in that quiet, vulnerable tone, told Diana all she needed to know. She may serve as Sheena's mother figure now…she may love her as her own, and she may be loved by Sheena in return. But none of this would change Sheena's longing for the mother of her own blood, even if only in the form of an angel.

"Sheena, I am certain that wherever your mother is, and whatever she might be now, she would be infinitely pleased and proud to have given to the world a daughter as exceptional as you," she told her, her voice as quiet and serious as the child's as she met her gaze with her own. "She brought forth a daughter who is bright and resourceful, loving and protective, courageous and strong, and she must love to know who you have become, with so little help along the way. I know that I am."

She touched her head briefly to Sheena's, squeezing her shoulders again as she continued.

"Your mother has given me a great opportunity and blessing in you, Sheena, and I am glad you are in this world and in my home…you are my gift this Christmas, and I am grateful to your mother for it."

There were tears now standing in Sheena's eyes as she looked back at Diana silently, thinning her lips, and mouthed a thank you that Diana did not hear. Then, as her eyes moved back to regard the angel at its place of honor on the tree, Sheena slowly slipped her arm around Diana's waist, leaning into her side. Together they stood without speaking, listening to the sound of the others' breaths as they remained close.