"Rockin’ around the Christmas tree at the Santa party hop. Doot do do doot…" Buffy sang as she carried the Christmas tree to Oz’s zebra stripped van.
"Hey, Buff, my eardrums are breaking!" Xander said, following along behind her with an axe. Willow smacked him. "Hey!"
"You’re just jealous, Xander, cuz you don’t know the words," Buffy replied, making a face at him.
"Yeah, like I really want to sound like a wounded buffalo," Xander retorted. Everyone laughed.
Oz opened up the back of the van. "Are we all going to fit? Or should we tie the tree to the roof?" Oz asked.
"I think we should tie Xander to the roof," Willow said. "Oops…did I just say that?" She grinned.
"Good idea, Will," Buffy said.
"Hey!" Xander said, sounding affronted.
Deciding not to tie Xander onto the roof, they all piled into the van and headed off to Giles’ house.
Bang. Bang. Bang. "Yo! G-man! Open up, the elves have arrived!" Xander hollered, banging on the door.
Giles opened the door and looked at the Xander exasperated. "I told you not to call me that."
"Sorry, Giles. Won’t happen again."
"Ignore him, Giles. I think using the axe has made him regress into a caveman," Buffy said, setting up the tree.
"Me chop-um big tree," Xander grunted.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "So, Giles. I wanted to say thanks again for having us here for Christmas…and Chanukah, too," Buffy said, looking at Willow.
"Yeah, Giles. I thought you would have had enough of us by now and would relish your Christmas break," Xander said, pulling out the lights. He started to put them on the tree.
"Quite the contrary, Mr. Harris. I am actually quite fond of all of you and am happy that you have decided to spend your holiday with me," Giles replied, pulling ornaments out of a box.
"Oh, Giles, that’s so sweet," Willow said while piling the presents into a corner.
"Look who I ran into," Oz said as he came through the door with more gifts. Cordelia followed him in.
"Hi, guys!" Cordelia said, presents in hand.
"Hey, Cordy," Xander said, taking the presents from her. He smiled, eyeing her outfit. "New duds?"
"’Duds’ Xander? Where did you learn to speak English, France?" Cordelia replied, smile in her eyes. Xander stuck his tongue out at her.
"All right, you two, knock it off," Buffy said. "Cordelia, why don’t you help put the rest of the ornaments on the tree."
Cordelia stepped over to help Buffy. Willow and Oz went into the kitchen with Giles and brought out some food. As Oz and Willow stepped out of the kitchen, Buffy yelled "Mistletoe! Mistletoe!" pointing above the kitchen door. Both blushed heavily and quickly pecked each other on the mouth.
"Hey that’s not a kiss!" Buffy said, pouting. But Xander saved Willow and Oz from further embarrassment.
"Food!" Xander whooped, diving into a bowl of popcorn.
"Xander, the way you eat, I’m surprised you don’t look like the Goodyear blimp," Willow said, laughing at her best friend.
"Nah," he said in between mouthfuls. "Too much running away from demons and vampires and other things that go bump in the night."
"Tada!" Buffy said, turning on the tree lights. "The tree."
Everyone clapped. Buffy took a bow. "Thank you, thank you."
"Is it time to watch a movie?" Willow asked, standing up and retrieving her bag. "Cuz I brought a fun one." They all cheered and she put the video into the VCR. Buffy sprawled out on the floor in front of the TV. Oz and Willow sat closely together on one end of the couch. Xander sat on the other end, with Cordelia seated in front of him on the floor, using his legs as a backrest. Giles sat in a chair off to one side. They watched with anticipation as to what the movie would be.
"’Well, we just had lunch. What shall we do now?’" said one smartly dressed hog. "’I know, how about dinner?" said another smartly dressed hog. "’Good idea!’"
"Um, Wills," Xander asked looking at the TV in confusion. "Why are their pigs dressed up in suits talking to one another?"
"Yeah, and why did that fruit just start talking?" Buffy asked from the floor.
Willow grinned. "I rented ‘Muppet’s Christmas Carol.’"
"’Muppet’s.’ Willow? What are ‘Muppet’s?’" Giles asked, looking perplexed. Willow started to explain and then gave up. "Just watch. It’s really funny."
As the movie progressed, Xander started to play with Cordelia’s hair. Cordelia started to protest, but thought better of it. *That feels good,* she thought. *Plus, it’s too dark in here anyways for anyone to notice.* She snuggled back farther so Xander’s legs were on either side of her. Xander, realizing that she wasn’t protesting, hugged her with his legs. She looked up at him and smiled.
"Yes, Willow. Excellent choice. Those ‘Muppet’s,’ as they are called, did an excellent and funny adaptation of Charles Dickens," Giles said, cleaning his glasses.
"Time for presents?" Xander asked, hopefully, bouncing up and down in his seat.
"Hey, knock it off, dweeb!" Cordelia said leaning forward due to his bouncing.
"Oh, the mighty Snob -Queen hath returned," Xander said, pretending to have been stabbed in the heart. "How it slays me to receive your nasty tongue." He stood up and grabbed the empty popcorn bowl from the table and went into the kitchen.
Cordelia stood up and followed him. "Well, Xander…" she started to say until she was out of earshot of the others. She walked up to him and put her arms around his neck. "That’s not what you usually say about my tongue." Xander pulled her to him tightly and kissed her.
Xander and Cordelia looked at each other and paled. Cordelia came out of it first. "Me? Kiss this dork? You have got to be kidding."
She started to walk away, but Xander grabbed her and pushed her up against the wall. He then proceeded to kiss her senseless.
"Go Xander!" Buffy said, rolling on the floor laughing. Willow and Oz looked on in puzzlement as Xander walked away from a dazed Cordelia with a satisfied grin on his face. Cordelia then made a disgusted face and headed for the bathroom. "I think I’m going to hurl," she said closing the door behind her.
"Xander, what was that all about?" Willow asked.
"Oh, I just wanted to show her that losers can kiss just as good as ‘real’ men can," Xander replied smirking.
"Well, she’s coming back, Xander, so I would run if I were you," Buffy said.
Xander took one look at Cordelia’s face and ran back into the kitchen.
"Xander Harris, you get your scrawny butt back here this instant…" Cordelia yelled going after him.
A few minutes later, Cordelia exited the kitchen alone with an evil smile on her face. Xander returned to the living room soon after with a wounded, puppy-dog look on his face. He sat down heavily on the couch.
The rest of the gang looked back and forth between the two and shrugged. "Presents, anyone?" Buffy asked as Cordelia sat back down in front of Xander. Xander looked at Cordelia’s head and shrugged. "Sounds good to me."
"Ok. Giles, since you are the host, why don’t you open one of yours first?" Oz suggested.
Giles picked up a small package from his pile of gifts. "This one is from Cordelia." He opened it up to reveal a key chain with a cross on it. "How thoughtful of you, Cordelia. Thank you."
Cordelia smiled at the complement. "Ok. My turn then." She picked up an envelope and opened it. "Ooh!" She said in delight. "A gift certificate for my favorite store! Thank you, Buffy!" She reached over and gave Buffy a hug. "It’s your turn now."
Buffy quickly opened a package from Cordelia. In it was a pair of earrings. "Killer earrings, Cordy! Thanks so much!" She put them on and pointed to Xander. "Your turn, Xand-man."
Xander opened a gift from Giles. Inside was a book on famous quips. "Giles, my man! Thanks. Just you wait now, Cordy. I can insult you with stuff famous people said!"
"Like that is going to help you any," Cordelia responded.
Willow ignored them and opened her own gift from Xander. Inside was a framed picture of them when they were in Junior High. "Xander, where in the world did you get this picture?" She said smiling.
"That was at our field trip to the water park, remember? The one I pushed you down the water slide?" Xander replied.
"Oh, yeah. The one where after you pushed me down, you were too chicken to go down yourself?"
Xander blushed. "Well.. that is…umm…" Everyone laughed.
"Oz’s turn!" Buffy said, looking up from the floor.
Oz opened a gift from Giles and Buffy. It was a book of guitar songs. "Hey! Thanks guys." He started to flip through the book.
"I guess it’s back to you, Giles," Xander said.
They continued through the gifts until they each had one left. Giles started on his last one, which was from Buffy. It was a framed 8 x 10 picture of the entire group, including Jenny Calendar. Giles looked up at Buffy with tears in his eyes. "Thank you, Buffy." Buffy stood up and gave him a hug.
Giles cleared his throat. "Yes, well, I believe it is your turn, Buffy." Buffy sat back down and opened her gift from Giles. Expecting something for slaying, she was amazed to find several CDs from her favorite groups. She jumped up again and gave Giles another hug. "Giles! Thank you so much! How did you know these were my favorite groups?"
"Well, I had a little help from Willow," Giles replied, happy at Buffy’s response. Buffy returned to her seat. "Ok, Cordy. Your turn again."
"I don’t have any more gifts, Buffy," Cordelia responded.
"Oh. Sorry, Cordy. I left it in my coat. I’ll give it to you later," Xander said, looking not too apologetic.
"Oh. Well, since it’s from you, I don’t mind not having a last gift," Cordelia snapped, feeling very sad and angry with Xander. "Why don’t you open your gift from me, seeing as how I didn’t forget you!"
Xander rolled his eyes and opened the gift. Inside was a bright orange superball. Xander took it out and showed everyone, looking like a little kid. "Looky, everybody! I got me a superball!" He was about to bounce it when Giles yelled, "No, Xander! Not in my house!" Xander looked sheepish and started to put the superball back into the box. The group had moved on to Willow when Xander noticed something else in the box. It had been under the superball. He picked it up and held it in his hand. It was a small lapel pin, like the one in the movie "The Saint." He smiled down at Cordelia with immense feeling. Cordelia smiled back.
"Ooh! A computer program that I don’t have yet! Thank you, Oz!" Willow said, breaking into Cordelia and Xander’s thoughts. Oz opened his last gift from Willow. It was a program to write music using the computer. He hugged Willow in thanks.
"Well, gang, I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use some more food," Xander said, standing up and heading to the kitchen. He nudged Cordelia before asking, "Anyone care to help?"
"Oh, I will," Cordelia said standing up. "I want to give you a piece of my mind in private about your thoughtless little act out here…"
"Oh, boy. Xander’s gonna get it," Buffy said gleefully. She popped in another video. "Hurry up you two! We’re starting 'It’s a Wonderful Life.'" Buffy yelled into the kitchen.
"More like a reminder that I am a saint to put up with you, Xander," Cordelia responded before smiling back. She leaned closer to give him a kiss, but he avoided her. "Hey!"
"I’m not done, yet," Xander said. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. "Here," he said, giving it to Cordelia. "I did not forget your gift. I just thought you might not want to get it in front of everyone else."
Cordelia eyed him thoughtfully before taking the box. "Well, you’re right about that," she said as she opened it. Inside lay a small, heart shaped ring.
"It’s not anything expensive, Cordy. I’m not that rich, but…" Xander began before Cordelia threw herself into his arms.
"Oh, thank you, Xander," she said, hugging him tightly. She drew back and kissed him with all her heart.
Giles walked into the kitchen at that moment and saw Xander and Cordelia in their clenched embrace. He immediately turned around and walked back out again.
"Giles," Willow asked. "Didn’t you just go into the kitchen for something?"
"Um…yes, Willow. I mean…I forgot what I was going in there for," Giles stammered in reply.
"Getting forgetful much in your old age, Giles," Buffy said from the floor. Xander and Cordelia walked back into the room. When they got under the mistletoe, Cordelia gave Xander a kiss on the cheek before sitting down on the couch next to Oz. Buffy looked surprisingly at Xander, who just shrugged his shoulders and sat down next to Cordelia.
Several hours later, the movie had shut itself off. Giles was asleep in his chair, his glasses half falling off his face. Buffy was sound asleep on the floor. Oz and Willow were snuggled up next to each other, also asleep and Xander held Cordelia in his arms, her head on his shoulder, as they slept on, oblivious to the possible consequences of being seen like this together in the morning.
"Ugh! I hate school!" Buffy said as she trudged up the stairs to the library.
"Well, it’s not that bad," Willow said walking next to her friend. Buffy gave Willow a look. "Oh, sorry."
The passed by Cordelia, surrounded by her sheep. "Who’s the ring from, Cordelia?"
"Oh, just this wonderful, handsome, funny man I’ve been seeing recently," Cordelia replied.
Buffy and Willow looked at each other. "Do you know who she’s seeing?" Willow asked Buffy. "Not a clue," Buffy responded.
"Hey! There’s my favorite two girls!" Xander said, catching up with them. "What’s the sitch?"
"Cordelia’s got a new ring from some guy she’s seeing," Buffy replied.
"Oh really? Now, who would be caught dead with the Queen of Snobs?" Xander joked. But his face had lit up with sheer delight from the news.
"Who knows," Buffy said. She looked over at Xander and saw something on his shirt. "Hey, Xander, what’s that on your shirt?"
"This? Oh, it’s just something I got for Christmas, that’s all," Xander replied, rubbing his thumb over the pin.
"It’s really cool, Xander. Who’d’ja get it from?" Willow asked.
"The secret love of my life," Xander replied with a serious face.
Buffy and Willow laughed at him. "Right Xander. Dream on," Buffy said. "Let’s go and see what doom and gloom prophecy Giles has come up with, shall we?"
The three linked arms and went merrily on their way.