Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

How Angel Saved Christmas
By Dolores
For Korey

December 22rd, 6.37am

"Aquarius: the full moon means you should prepare for a long journey this Christmas. And Venus in retrograde heralds an encounter with a tall, dark, handsome stranger."

Oz looked at Angel over the top of Woman's Day. "Hey, think they mean you?"

Next to him, Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Stop flirting and tell me mine. Scorpio."

"Scorpio: Mars dominates your sign this holiday season, and you may find that you are jealous of someone close." Oz raised an eyebrow. "I'll say."

She elbowed him in the ribs as Angel watched them from the other side of the table in faint bemusement. Before his own horoscope could be read, the grizzled diner waitress shuffled over and deposited a stack of pancakes in front of Oz and half a grapefruit in front of Cordelia. "Sure I can't get you anything? Coffee?" she asked Angel, eyeing him with an air of reproach.

"No, really. Thank you." She sighed and turned away, but had taken just three steps when Angel called her back. "Wait - do you have any raw carrots?"

 

December 22rd, 6.59am

Later, back in the van, they examined Oz's battered road atlas by the dim glow of the cabin light. They'd covered some seven hundred miles since setting off the previous evening, but there was still at least another two thousand to go, and with the van straining to reach sixty with all the extra weight, that meant maybe another 36 hours on the road.

"That should be enough time," said Oz, flicking off the light.

Angel merely furrowed his brow and climbed into the back, away from the impending sunlight. As he did, the beast stirred under its blanket but did not wake.

"Wow, that glass of eggnog is just always half empty, isn't it?" Cordelia remarked, but got no response.

Oz gave her a half smile, then turned the ignition.

 

December 21st, 11.24am

"There is a theory that one of the senior partners is the Grinch."

Wesley looked at Cordelia and Angel with an air of deadly seriousness.

"That would be a motive," said Cordelia, carefully applying a band-aid to the cut above Wesley's right eye.

"Well, whatever the reason, now we've rescued him from Lilah's clutches we still have to get him back home before about 3am Pacific Standard Time on the 24th." When he saw his companions' confused expressions, Wesley clarified. "Bedtime in New Zealand."

Angel nodded, then grimaced. "That's going to be a tall order, even assuming we can find a suitable cargo plane. Airport security'll be a nightmare."

Wincing as Cordelia dabbed another wound with iodine, Wesley shook his head. "Actually, I don't think we need to get to Europe. If my research is correct, we need only get as far as the Arctic Circle for his powers to be restored, and he can find his own way from there. So basically Canada or Alaska -- which we could reach by road."

"We'll still need transport. The Plymouth's just not big enough, and I doubt a convertible's a good idea even if it was."

Cordelia put down the cotton wool and reached into her handbag for her cellphone. "Don't worry," she said, "I know a man with a van. Of course, when I say man, I really mean werewolf, but that doesn't rhyme so well."

 

December 22nd, 8.03pm

Cordelia had finally insisted she take over driving after Oz fell asleep at the wheel, which given his general stoicism they'd only noticed when the van had actually begun to weave to and fro on the highway.

Once darkness had fallen Angel had clambered back into the front, and despite Cordelia's entreaties to engage in some games to pass the time, was choosing to remain as morose as ever.

She glanced over at the still slumbering Oz. Angel had wrapped one large arm around him so that his head rested against Angel's chest -- and drool slowly soaked into the fabric of Angel's shirt. It was deeply adorable, and though he'd never admit it she knew Angel was enjoying being in that position.

Angel stared impassively ahead, eyes glittering in the light from dials on the dashboard.

"Visibility's getting poorer," she whispered, though he could see this as well as she could.

"The fog," he said, and lapsed into silence once more.

 

December 21st, 4.46pm

Gunn strapped the sword belt around his waist. "No, you need to go north. Stopping the fog's gotta be plan B, 'cause it don't matter if they succeed so long as you can get our man home. Me and Wes'll deal with Lilah."

"You can't take them on your own," Angel countered.

"Maybe not, but Cordelia and Oz sure as hell aren't strong enough to fight 'em off if the Senior Partners go for another kidnapping attempt. And yo, speaking of our furry friendů"

"Hey."

Angel turned to see Oz walking into the hotel lobby. His hair was jet black and spiky, and there was a look of wry amusement on his face. He looked right into Angel's eyes, and as always it made Angel's stomach tighten.

"So does Cordelia really mean it when she says I get to save Christmas?"

 

December 23rd, 3.36am

There was a scream.

Then the van's brakes squealed as Cordelia floored the break pedal. Angel and Oz were thrown forward, prevented from flying through the windshield only by their seatbelts. From the back of the van their passenger collided with something and moaned in pain and surprise.

In front of them, across the whole highway and still half-shrouded in darkness of the night and the thick fog, lay a very large fallen tree.

For a second there was stillness. Then the driver's side window shattered as an axe made contact with it at high speed and Cordelia screamed again, ducking just in time to miss the blade.

Angel was out of both his seatbelt and the van in seconds, and was soon engaged with some of the goons sent, presumably, by Wolfram and Hart to detain them. Oz reached down into under his seat and produced a crossbow, and he sent a bolt out through the shattered window. There was a shriek from whatever or whomever he hit, then Oz tossed it to Cordelia and reached under once again, this time for a stake.

"You never know," he said, then unclipped his belt and dived outside.

"Wait! Oz! Come back! Where do you keep the other bolts?! Oz!" Cordelia called after him, all too aware that a crossbow was of little use if it wasn't loaded -- but by then he was lost in the fog and the mêlée.

 

December 22nd, 6.21pm

"You've done some evil things in your time, Lilah, but this has to be the most despicable."

Wesley was bloodied but unbowed. He had fought his way to the top of the apartment building, but it was too late. The three weather demons he'd hoped to kill had cast their spell and already fog had started to settle on Los Angeles. Lilah stood triumphantly in front of them in an expensive trouser suit, hands on hips and hair moving gently in the breeze.

"I'm only doing my job, Wesley. Just as you are doing yours. Only difference is -- I'm better."

"Think of the children!"

She laughed. "Don't bother appealing to my better nature, I don't have one. I'm actually thinking of my Christmas bonus. And how it's going to be really, really big."

"I wouldn't count your Fabergé eggs just yet. Angel will still get through, and if he does --"

"We'll see about that."

"Yes, we will."

 

December 23rd, 3.47am

The last of the goons fled when he saw a vamped out Angel advance towards him with an axe in one hand and a knife in the other.

When his footsteps died away, Cordelia called out from the van, "is that it? Are we done? Are you two okay? Anybody? Angel?"

"I'm fine," he replied, face sliding back to human dimensions. "Oz?"

There was silence.

"Oz?"

Angel started to look around the van, and he heard Cordelia jump out and start to shout Oz's name, but there was still no response.

It took him only a few seconds to find Oz's body, prone and lifeless on the ground.

Angel moaned, dropped his weapons and fell to his knees, picking up Oz's head and cradling it in his lap. Cordelia appeared momentarily his side, and her hand flew to her mouth as she saw Oz.

"Oh no! No!"

For a few horrible seconds they froze, unable to believe that Oz was gone -- and just then Oz's eyelids fluttered and he came round.

He pulled himself up into a sitting position, then rubbed his skull. He turned to see Angel and Cordelia staring at him in shock. "Uh, hey. Think I bumped my head there. You two okay?"

Angel grabbed him and planted his lips straight on Oz's own, arms wrapping themselves around Oz in a tight embrace.

It took Cordelia clearing her throat as loudly as possible to separate them some moments later.

"It's not that I'm not just as happy you're still alive, Oz, and it's not that I didn't enjoy watching the two of you macking, but we have a mission to complete -- remember?"

 

December 23, 2005, 3.47am

Through the fog, Spike stomped towards his crypt through the graveyard, and tripped yet over another stone.

"Ow! What the hell is wrong with Christmas bloody weather in this sodding town?" he asked angrily, of no-one in particular. "Snow one year, now a sodding pea-souper. This is California! If I wanted this I'd have stayed in sodding England."

He stopped and looked around.

"And now I'm fucking lost. Brilliant."

 

December 23rd, 11.17am

"And now we're lost, brilliant."

Cordelia looked down at Oz's road atlas, but its coverage of northern Canada wasn't great -- and in any case she had no idea where they were in order to figure out where they should be going.

"We just have to keep driving north," said Angel, absently stoking Oz's thigh.

"You don't say." She indicated the dense cloud of white that surrounded them on all sides. "And north is which way, Mr Columbus?"

From behind them, someone with a mellifluous Swedish accent said, "that way." A hoof extended past their heads to an area slightly to the left of the van's current direction.

Cordelia turned to face their passenger. "You mean you can speak?!"

 

December 23rd, 8.38pm

Humming Jingle Bells to herself, Dawn hung her stocking over the Summers' fireplace then walked over to her window and looked out at the fog beyond.

"Mom, do you think Santa can still get through in this weather?"

Joyce walked in from the kitchen carrying a freshly baked plate of cookies, all shaped like little Christmas trees.

"Of course dear, he has a special guide for nights like this."

Dawn smiled, relieved. "Oh yeah, I forgot."

"Cookie, dear?"

 

Christmas Eve, 2.46am

The van sped along the fog-laden highway, heedless of the dangers of doing so in such weather.

"How do we know when we're there?" Cordelia wailed. "Is there some sort of sign?"

"I think the Arctic Circle's an imaginary line," Oz said from behind the wheel, "I don't think they have an actual sign for when we cross it."

Just then, the van filled with a bright red glow. Ahead of them, the fog melted like snow on a hotplate.

"Of course, I could be wrong."

 

Christmas Day, 4.00pm

Cordelia had never eaten roast moose for Christmas dinner before, but it made a change from turkey.

Across the table from her, Oz and Angel were more or less ignoring their food in order to feast on each other. Amazing what a knock on the head and some Christmas spirit will do for your romantic prospects, she thought.

The hotel in Fort McPherson was basic but they were just grateful to get off the road, and now that the fog had cleared the journey home would probably be a lot easier, other than the strange green and prickly berry-like feeling she was going to get whenever those two got within touching distance. Still, it really was hot watching them. There were worse travelling companions.

As there had been nothing on the television news about presents not being delivered, she figured Rudolph had got back to Santa okay, and from what Wesley had said, once he was hitched up to the sleigh his powers weren't confined to the North Pole. Christmas had been saved -- all in a day's work when you were part of a supernatural detective agency.

She took another mouthful of moose -- and then her world began to spin and contort. She slid off her chair and collapsed into a moaning heap, dimly aware of Oz and Angel rushing to her side.

When it was over she looked up at them and sighed.

"Let's get to the van. They've got the Easter Bunny."