And What Would You Like From Santa This Year?

by Saber ShadowKitten

Angel was going to kill Cordelia. He was going to wring her little neck until her damn Seer's eyes popped out of her skull. He was going to feed her to the next demon she "saw" with her visions.

He was going to eat the next kid who asked for Pokemon cards.

"Now smile for the camera," a teen dressed as an elf instructed.

Angel scowled at the camera. However, the big, fake, white beard and mustache over his face hid his scowl, much to his disappointment. The flash went off, and the little boy beside him in the fake, red sleigh scrambled out to run excitedly into his mother's waiting arms.

"Ho, ho, ho," the currently red and white clad vampire muttered to himself. "How would you like a candy cane shoved up," a little girl joined him in the sleigh, "you're such a pretty little girl. And what would you like from Santa this year?"

"Pokemon cards," she replied.

Angel gnashed his teeth together. **Demon, remember you're hunting a demon,** he told himself. Cordelia had a vision earlier in the evening, which had prompted her to rant and rave about the pain for twenty minutes before he managed to get what she'd seen out of her.

And now here he was, dressed as Santa Claus, sitting in a fake sleigh getting his picture taken with little brats who only seemed to want Pokemon cards for Christmas. Supposedly one of the kids that was going to turn into a "disgusting gremlin-like monster, but not the cute one, the gross, lizardy ones," and try to have the jolly old fat guy for a snack. Angel had paid the mall Santa three hundred bucks to take his place.

Angel should have made the mall Santa pay him.

The little girl was replaced by an even littler girl. "Hello, sweetie," Angel said in the most merry voice he could muster. "And what would you like for Christmas?"


He was going to kill Cordelia.

With a sigh, he glanced around the mall area where the Photos With Santa was set up. A multitude of people jostled and wove their way to and from stores, loaded down with packages, their expressions mostly unhappy. He could easily pick out the harried husbands who had no clue what to get their wives; the tired mothers dragging whining children behind them; the teenagers with nothing better to do with school being out than go to the mall; Buffy and Willow heading right for him...

Angel jerked his head in shock and blinked several times, wondering if he was buckling under the stress of being Mall Santa. Instead of the two disappearing, they multiplied. Now he could see Buffy, Willow, Xander, the girl who'd called him large and glowery, and Spike?!

He quickly looked around him. **World's still here,** he thought in disbelief, looking back at the group to see that, indeed, Spike was there.

Three little boys piled into the sleigh with Angel, forcing him to turn away from the group across the roped-off stage area. "Um, ho, ho, ho, what would you three like Santa to bring you this year?"

"Pokemon cards!!" the three boys chorused loudly.

"Smile," elf-teen said brightly.

The second after the flash went off, Angel looked back towards where he saw Buffy. She was still standing there with the others, obviously arguing with Spike, her fingers rubbing an area on her neck. He wished he could hear what they were saying. Actually, he wished he knew what the heck Spike was doing...getting bags shoved into his arms by both Willow and Buffy.

He saw the girl he didn't know do the same to Xander, and the three women turned and walked away from the other two. Then, much to his amazement, he saw Spike and Xander exchange pained, commiserating looks. They began talking to each other in what was obviously not a threatener/threatenee way.

"Santa?" A shy, little girl's voice brought Angel back around to what he was suppose to be pretending to be. He looked away from Spike and Xander, and down at the girl who'd climbed into the sleigh with him.

"Hello, there," Angel said. "And what would you like from Santa this year?"

The little girl gestured with her hand for him to lean closer to her. Wary of an attack from the demon, Angel did as bade, then had to prevent himself from attacking the child when she whispered, "I want Pokemon cards."


Angel rolled his eyes heavenward, praying for the apocalypse, before glancing back at where Xander and Spike had stood. Only they were no longer standing there. They were gone.

After five minutes of searching, Angel gave up on the idea that he'd see them again. **It sort of hurt seeing Buffy anyway,** he thought. He wondered why they were shopping in Los Angeles, rather than in Sunnydale.

Angel pondered that question along with the question as to why Spike was with them as child after child sat with him in the sleigh to get their picture taken and tell him they wanted Pokemon cards for Christmas. He was also beginning to debate whether or not to let the demon just eat him because then he wouldn't have to hear the word "Pokemon" ever again.

"I want a whole box full of Pokemon cards," the greedy little boy beside Angel said. "And the gold ones."

Angel nodded, biting back the rude comment he almost made about where he was going to shove those Pokemon cards.

"Say Merry Christmas!" the perpetually happy, she-must-be-on-something, teenaged elf said.

"Merry Christmas," Angel mumbled as the flash went off.

He closed his eyes for a moment as the child left the sleigh. Now he knew why Mall Santa's were always portrayed as drunks. He could use about five bottles of whiskey right about now...

Angel's eyes flew open when a very non-child-sized weight pressed down onto his legs. His arms shot out around the person in a natural reaction, only to find himself with an extremely blond, blue-eyed vampire on his lap.

"'Allo, Santa." Spike grinned devilishly just before he stuck his thumb in his mouth and began kicking his legs back and forth. "I wanna thoo-thoo twain, ana toy cawr, an thee monkeys," he said around his thumb.

Angel was about to shove Spike off of his lap when Xander climbed in the sleigh beside him and slapped Spike on the back of the head. "Get off Santa, before we get in trouble. I shelled out good money to get this picture taken," Xander told Spike.

To Angel's surprise, Spike moved off his lap and into the seat beside him with a dramatic sigh. "Fine, mate. But I don't see why I have to do this, too."

"Because the girls will think it's cute, and we'll get more presents from them," Xander said in a voice that clearly implied that Spike was a moron. Then the dark-haired young man then pinned his gaze on Angel. "Aren't you suppose to ask us what we want for Christmas?"

Angel cleared his throat. "Uh, what would you two like from Santa this year?" he asked in the most non-normal tone of voice that he could.

"The Slayer's head on a plate," Spike muttered at the same time Xander said, "Pokemon cards."

"Alright, you three, handsome men," elf-teen said. "Look this way and smile for the camera."

Angel glanced at Xander and saw the young man smiling naturally. He glanced at Spike and saw the younger vampire smiling evilly. As the flash went off, Angel found out why.

Spike was checking out Santa's package.

Angel whipped his head towards Spike, a deep growl coming from his throat. He saw Spike's expression go from evil amusement, to surprise, to confusion, and then wide-eyed as Angel's yellow eyes bore into his blue ones.

"Come on, Spike, let's go," Xander said from outside of the sleigh.

Spike quickly stood and climbed out of the sleigh without a word. Angel watched as the two went to retrieve their picture and the packages they'd been holding. His face returned to its normal, human mask under the Santa beard and hat, and he saw Spike dart a glance back at him with a frown.

A little boy climbed up into the sleigh beside him and tapped his leg. Angel glanced down at the kid briefly, then back up to see Xander and Spike's retreating backs. "And what would you like from Santa?" he asked, wondering if Spike was going to tell Xander or the others that there was a vampire playing Santa Claus.

"Your tasty flesh," the little boy snarled.

Angel's eyes shot down to see the innocent little kid beside him start to shed his skin. The vampire grabbed the demon by the head and quickly twisted. A semi-loud crack was heard as the demon's neck was broken.

"Smile for the camera," the elf teen said cheerfully.

Angel held the back of the dead demon's still-human hair, so it was still sitting upright, and turned to the camera. The flash went off and Angel immediately stood, picking up the "child" at the same time.

"I'm taking a break with my son, here," Angel told happy-elf, then he stepped out of the sleigh and around the back to make his way off of the stage-like platform. He quickly jostled his way to an employees entrance to the mall and pushed through the metal doors. Once in the cement hallway, he dropped the little demon in a convenient trash bin, stripped out of the Santa suit and beard, and went back into the mall.

Hidden within the mass of people, he witnessed Buffy, Willow and the girl he didn't know talking with Xander and Spike. He saw Buffy glance around with a slight frown on her face, her hand rubbing the side of her neck again, while Willow laughed at the photo in her hand. Then, as a group, they turned and walked away.

"Hey, mister." A young boy tugged on Angel's sleeve, causing the dark-haired vampire to look down.

"Yeah, kid?" Angel said, planning on calling Giles when he got back to the office to find out why Spike was with Buffy and friends.

"Do you know where they're selling Pokemon cards?"

Angel shot the boy a deadly look, turned and walked away with out saying a word.