My Share of Miracles


Angel contemplates the holiday season.

  • CONTENTS:   Angel-centric
  • CATEGORY:   Holiday Fic / Christmas
  • RATING:   PG
  • LENGTH:   Short Story / 3,000 words
  • STATUS:   Completed
  • FICPIC CREDIT:   Lysa (This was my first attempt at fan art / ficpics)

My Share of Miracles

Miracles still happen at Christmas
It’s a magic time of the year
Then you feel like loving and giving
And your heart is filled with cheer
Let the spirit of Christmas surround you
Show you how a wish comes true
Miracles still happen at Christmas
If you just believe one can happen to you!
In a world that’s ever changing
You can make love bright and new
Often just by rearranging
Something deep inside of you!
Miracles still happen at Christmas
It’s a magic time of the year
Then you feel like loving and giving
And your heart is filled with cheer
Let the spirit of Christmas surround you
Show you how a wish comes true
Miracles still happen at Christmas
If you just believe one can happen to…
Make a Christmas wish come true…
The truth that your heart knows
Will lead you as love grows
The whole year through, to the child in you
That’s what Christmas means to you!
(Stage Production of ‘Scrooge’ – James Leisy)

Christmas came earlier every year. No sooner had the pumpkin displays disappeared after Halloween, than strings of colored lights and artificial trees showed up in storefronts. So much for Thanksgiving which now simply seemed to be an excuse for humans to gorge themselves on large helpings of turkey, cornbread stuffing and mashed potatoes rather than contemplate their lives. It was simply a stopover on the road to a much bigger event. The fact that Christmas had long since gone commercial was not exactly a huge concern for a vampire… unless you happened to know Cordelia Chase.

Avoiding the multitude of public religious displays cropping up on every street corner was far easier than escaping Cordy’s enthusiasm for the season. This was far from the first time Angel had experienced Christmas, Chase-style, but for some reason she seemed to have a case of excessive holiday spirit. Every occupied space at the Hyperion was in some state of partial decoration. Heavily armed with a slew of red ribbons, mistletoe and garlands, the only spot she hadn’t invaded was his private suite.

Not that the word private really meant anything around this place. He felt certain that it was just a matter of time before jingle bells and scented candles appeared. Angel half expected to wake up one afternoon to discover his wardrobe had been completely replaced with Santa suits. As it was, he’d had to put his foot down when Cordy dressed Connor in a little reindeer one-piece that came with a matching hat.

“I won’t have my son dressed in creepy antlers,” he’d told her and quickly snagged something else from the drawer.

Just then, Fred had wandered in looking for Cordy, completely unsurprised to find her there, and the two women had immediately started cooing over the ‘adorable’ little reindeer outfit. Angel held up the Notre Dame shirt in Cordy’s line of sight, but she grinned, her eyes sparkling, arched an I-told-you-so brow, and proceeded to head downstairs with his son in her arms and Fred trailing behind them chattering away about their plans to decorate their Christmas tree.

Come to think of it, Angel realized he’d lost that argument, too. He distinctly recalled using the words small and reasonable as they went tree shopping. The rather large and no doubt expensive tree taking up so much room in the lobby fit neither of his criterion. When it was just Wes, Cordy and himself, he’d managed to curtail the holiday decorating to the small space on and around Cordelia’s desk. Then it crept into his office, too. Now, there was nowhere to go without a constant reminder of the season.

He could hardly fault Cordelia for her infectious smile, tendency to sing Christmas songs while she worked or her efforts to make this a memorable holiday season for everyone. This was Connor’s first Christmas and Fred’s first since Pylea, so Angel could understand just why Cordelia thought it was important to make things just right. She never did things in half measures and was determined to have everyone feeling just as Christmassy as her.

Apparently, that included him, but a vampire celebrating Christmas? Angel was certain there was an oxymoron in there somewhere, even for a vampire with a soul. No matter the commercialism that gilded the season with its frenzied shopping sprees and glittering lights, he remembered back in the day when things were far simpler.

Decorations may have been expected, but he had to point out to Cordelia that dressing his son in reindeer clothing was going overboard. She merely proceeded to ask everyone else their opinion on the little outfit. Lorne was suddenly inspired to sing something ridiculous about reindeer paws. Even Wesley took a moment from his research to make a fuss. Only Gunn looked a little sympathetic, but he said nothing as Fred giggled over the little felt antlers.

Triumphant, Cordelia waltzed over to gloat, her lush mouth sweeping into that trademark smile. “C’mon, Scroogy, just admit he looks adorable and I’ll let you run off to brood for a while.”

“Adorable,” Angel muttered reluctantly as he got distracted by the sight of Connor’s tiny palm spread out across the bare skin at her throat.

Cordy let out a soft, “Pfft. Not convinced. Now you’ll have to help decorate the tree.”

He told her, “Actually, I was going to patrol.”

The silence in the room suggested he hadn’t made a popular decision, but it was one he was planning to stick too. Cordelia’s smile dipped back down into a softer expression of acceptance, though she told him, “Try to find some holiday spirit while you’re out there.”

Finding trouble sounded a little more likely.

Even when he wasn’t looking for it, trouble always seemed to find him, no matter the still of the night or the hush that fell over the city at certain times. Right now, the streets still bustled with thinning crowds of holiday shoppers, stragglers heading home only because the stores were closing down for the night. There was something in the cool night air that bristled his senses. From the rooftops, Angel tracked a scent that stood out amid the crowds, something not quite human.

As a shout pierced the air, Angel dropped off the side of the building, landing below with catlike grace in the shadowed alley. He ran around the corner, barging through the front entrance. A jingling bell chimed his sudden arrival. Activity within the room paused for an instant of time, just long enough for the occupants to acknowledge his presence. An elderly man, a young woman and a child stood in a tight group near the checkout counter of the shop.

Then, as if turning on a switch, they turned their eyes away from Angel and the struggle continued. The child let out a wail, holding something close to his chest, hiding it from view with both hands, while the woman attempted to convince the boy to give it up to her. His refusal was vocal and the more stubborn he got, the more difficulty he had in controlling himself. Angel quickly saw the reason his senses led him to believe that a demon had entered the shop when the boy’s features fluttered into his true form.

The shopkeeper’s eyes widened, but he merely turned to say something to the woman in her own language. With the adults distracted, the boy darted into the depths of the shop, leaving his mother to chase after him. A smile tugged at Angel’s mouth as he suddenly pictured Connor at that age and Cordelia trying to talk him out of something he wanted. If his son was only half as stubborn as he had been as a boy, then even Cordy might have to give in to his wishes.

“Are you looking for something in particular?” asked the merchant as he hurried over to see what the newcomer wanted. “We are about to close, but there is time enough for you to look around.”

The man’s voice finally registered and Angel explained briefly, “No, I came in because I heard shouting and thought there was trouble.”

“That is refreshing,” the old man laughed, his face wrinkling up, eyes sparkling brightly with amusement. “This is Los Angeles. Most people run in the other direction when there is a hint of trouble, so you are either an off-duty policeman or a nutcase who thinks he’s the caped crusader.”

Sensing that he was waiting for a response, Angel rubbed the back of his head as he tried to figure out how to answer. Finally, he took one of his business cards out of his pocket and handed it over to the man. If Cordy was here, Angel knew she’d give him the usual spiel about helping the helpless, but Angel figured that the card sufficed.

“So you are a crusader of sorts,” the merchant obviously recognized the name of Angel Investigations. With a somewhat sheepish look, he added, “You’re the vampire with a soul. Sorry about the nut comment.”

“No problem,” muttered Angel, realizing that there was more here than met the eye. The man was part demon himself and his shop, though decorated for the holidays like any of the others on the block, was an eclectic mix of modern and mystical. The nametag on his shirt read, ‘Earl’.

Bookshelves lined one wall, with leather-bound and tattered-edged volumes neatly aligned. One area contained antique armor and weaponry. Angel’s eyes lingered there before they skimmed over the display of magic items, spell components and charm bracelets within the glass cases. Then his gaze fell upon a round table full of snow globes in varying sizes. They were nestled in a bed of fake cotton snow, the lights from the close window display twinkling across the glass spheres.

“My grandson likes them, too,” Angel heard Earl say as he found himself picking up one of the snow globes. Unlike most of the others, this one had no miniature figures inside, just whirling snow and a wintery scene painted on the ceramic base.

Snow, Angel realized it was something Connor wasn’t likely to see here in Los Angeles. He gave the globe another shake, watched the snow whirl and spin inside the sphere and for an instant thought he saw his son’s face. Blinking, he looked away and realized that the old merchant was still talking to him.

“I make them myself, you know,” Earl said proudly, “with a little of this, a little of that, and the added bonus of snow. Y’know, we haven’t had a measurable snowfall here since 1962. Maybe you remember that if you were around.”

He paused and received a brief nod from Angel before prattling on, “Just that one freak snowstorm down in Sunnydale a few years ago, but none for us. That’s why I make these. Every now and then, it’s nice to see that snow actually exists.”

Warily, Angel shifted his feet, suddenly feeling like he didn’t want any part of this conversation. He was about the make his excuses and head back out into the street when he was told, “I think most people go through their existence so focused on their troubles that they don’t take the time to enjoy life’s little miracles.”

Returning the snow globe to the table, Angel said, “That depends on the troubles.”

Earl poked him in the chest with the edge of the card in his hand causing Angel to stare down at the spot as if it had been a hot poker. There weren’t many who dared to get quite so personal. “There is no need to be such a Scrooge, vampire. Even demons can enjoy the season.”

Resisting the urge to rub his chest, Angel felt his anger stirring. The well-meaning old merchant was tugging at chains he couldn’t possibly know existed.

“You should be happy,” Earl pointed out, “that you have been blessed with a soul unlike the rest of your kind.”

“Cursed,” came the gruff correction.

Stroking his chin in contemplation, Earl finally gave a nod of understanding, “So you’re one of those glass-is-half-empty people, can’t even recognize a miracle when it happens.”

Though Angel wasn’t really certain why he was still here, much less responding to any of this, his voice dipped low as he told the old man, “I’ve had my share of miracles.”

Earl rolled his eyes, picked up the snow globe that Angel had been admiring and gave it a whirl. He gave a doubtful sigh, “Oh, really?”

The snow that blanketed the sunrise that fateful morning back in Sunnydale had been a miracle, saving him from his own despair. No matter that Connor’s birth was foretold, his existence certainly counted as such. Even the Shanshu prophesy with its promise of a human life would be another miracle should he ever earn redemption. When it happened, he corrected himself. Until then, he still had his son. He had his friends. He had Cordelia.

“I’m just saying a man should try to appreciate those little miracles even though he’s a demon,” Earl’s explanation was lost on Angel who was suddenly transfixed by his own thoughts.

Twirling snowflakes spun in the glass sphere, an image of the people closest to his heart glowing in the center. It vanished as the snow slowly settled to the bottom of the globe. In that moment, Angel realized that he’d closed himself off to just about everything. Those little things that Earl mentioned made life worth living, especially the friends and family he had waiting for him back at the Hyperion.

Setting the snow globe back in its spot on the table, the old merchant felt a draft of cool air and heard the jingle of the bell over the door. By the time Earl looked up, the vampire was gone. With a shrug, he slowly walked back toward the counter where his daughter and grandson were waiting.

Glancing down at the business card in his hand, Earl dropped it into glass jar on the counter, stuffed full with similar cards and handwritten notes, all eager participants hoping to win one of his unique spells. A small sign on the jar read, ‘Christmas Day Drawing’. Maybe the vampire would win.

Angel stood in the shadows, quietly observing the scene before him as his family was all gathered around the Christmas tree, still bare of decorations. He’d come to realize exactly what this hodgepodge group meant to him. They were more than just co-workers and friends. In a way, they were also one of his miracles and he had come to depend upon and rely on them as much as they ever did on him.

A lullaby sounded as Lorne crooned Connor to sleep. Wes and Gunn were tangled up in strings of lights, testing them out and arguing softly over the best method of getting them on the tree. He saw Fred, curled up on the couch, threading popcorn into one long strand. Cordelia’s laughter caught his attention as she walked out from behind the front desk carrying another bowl of popcorn fresh from the microwave.

“Stop eating the decorations,” she handed Fred the bowl. “We’ll run out of popcorn if you keep at it.”

“That’s what you get for putting those two in charge of the lights,” Fred grinned at the pair who had managed to crisscross several strands.

Angel felt an irrepressible smile tug at his lips. It widened when Cordy suddenly noticed him on the steps, turning around as if a sixth sense told her he was standing there. With an arched brow, she took one look at him and asked, “What’s wrong?”

Apparently, smiling was an aberration. That realization only made him laugh, even if it was just a small huff of air. Cordelia approached him almost cautiously, her eyes looking him over for some sign of trouble. Standing close, she pulled at the open sides of his coat and reached in to feel for any injuries. Angel wordlessly let her hands rove over him until Cordy ran her fingers through his hair, asking suspiciously, “Did you hit your head?”

Angel wasn’t capable of conversation just then. All he could do was lift his fingers to her face, letting the tips glide across the warm curve of her cheek and sliding them back to curl around the nape of her neck. As her lips formed a soft circle, he pressed his mouth to hers. For an endless moment, neither moved, just feeling the sensation of being lip to lip.

Until a soft sigh passed between them and Cordelia melted into his embrace, her arms looping around his neck. The long, drugging kiss that followed left them both a little scatterbrained as they came back to the reality of wolf-whistling, boisterous clapping and the loud squall of a rudely-awakened infant. Still in his arms, Cordy’s face shifted from soft-focused wonderment to confusion as she looked straight up above their heads.

“Where’s the mistletoe?”

She obviously expected to find some and when Angel tilted her head down to meet his gaze, he confirmed that he’d simply wanted to kiss her, “There isn’t any.”

“Kinda noticed,” she said as her fingertips shifted across the short hair at the nape of his neck. “Umm, was that just a one-time spur of the moment thing, or??”

Angel answered her with another kiss.

Waiting for some miracles to happen might take a lifetime, but that didn’t mean he should ignore the blessings he had been given in the here and now. People, unique and precious, filled his existence and were long overdue for a share of his feelings on the matter. Cordelia, especially, who accepted him for his faults and never hesitated to point them out when necessary. One glance from her and he was reminded just how much of a man he wanted to be.

The End.

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