I'll Be Home for Christmas
Secret Santa : The Home Coming
Author’s Note: The one comment I heard more than any other is where was Xander going to live. I also frequently heard that I forgot to show Xander coming back from his work at the North Pole. So, I hope everyone likes the sequel. – Dedicated to all those who reviewed and sent notes. Thank you!
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"I'll Be Home for Christmas, you can count on me . . . if only in my dreams"
January 5, 2004
“Santa, I think you can slow down. We have everything ready for our Epiphany/Three Kings Day deliveries.” One of the elves smiled at him. “Have some hot chocolate.”
“Thanks Lisle,” Xander smiled as he sat back from his workbench, taking the hot chocolate, and sipping it slowly. He had been pitching in on making some of the gifts. He especially enjoyed working on the woodcrafts, but helped in all areas. Due to his grandfather’s illness production had been behind.
Unseen to Xander, his grandparents were watching him from the door.
“I knew he would do a good job filling my shoes.” His grandfather said with a jolly laugh.
His grandmother smiled, “I never had any doubt, my dear.”
“He should stay here.” He motioned to his grandson. “He is happy and the job agrees with him.”
“It needs to be his decision.” She took his hand before closing the door. “I gave our word that this was temporary.” She sigh feeling sorrow at her only grandson’s impending departure and pride in him. “I love having him here. The house has been so empty since Jessica left, but you know as well as I do he is not ready to stay here.”
Mrs. Claus just gave him a look, a look that all happily married men know that says, “I’m right give in now because I am right, you are wrong, and even if you don’t agree with me you had better just listen or you will be sorry.”
“But, love,” he gave in. “It won’t be long before his only choice will be to become Santa or watch the tradition of Santa end with me. Look at how good he is at the job.” He enjoys the toy making; the elves and the reindeer love him; he has a knack with the Christmas magic; he has a jolly ‘ho ho’, and most importantly he understands the importance of the work. He is more than ready.” Santa Sr. countered.
“It isn’t a matter of if he is ready to be Santa,” she began.
“Well, if it isn’t, then what is the problem?”
“The problem is, he isn’t ready to leave his life or his friends.”
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1225 Holly Berry Lane
January 5, 2004
“Buffy, I am getting worried about Xander. I would have thought he would have been back by now,” Dawn sounded anxious. “Christmas was over last week.”
“What does Christmas have to do with Xander coming back?” Buffy asked not seeing the connection.
“What if he can’t find us?” Willow added saving Dawn from answering the question.
Buffy didn’t know anymore than the rest of them. “You know Xander. He always finds his way home.”
Willow smiled. “Dawn, Faith, and I decorated the apartment over Oz’s and my garage. It will be all ready for him when he gets here.”
“I even put Twinkies in his cabinet.”
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January 8, 2004
“Okay, Santa. I think that’s a wrap. We are officially done with the Christmas season.”
“Okay, two weeks break then everyone needs to be back to start working on next Christmas.” Xander gave a good belly laugh, “my grandfather will need you all.”
After lots of good byes and requests to come visit us, the elves left the workshop and Xander walked back towards his grandparent’s house. As he entered the door, he shimmered with red and green sparkles and transformed back to the familiar figure of Xander Harris rather than the traditional Santa.
“You know when you take the job permanently it will be easier to just conform to the image rather than using magic to maintain it.” His grandfather called having watched him enter the room.
Before he could answer, his grandmother cut him off, “Nicolaus Kristopher Von Claus stop tormenting the boy. Honestly!”
Xander smiled at his grandmother, “it’s time for me to go home.”
“This is your home, boy,” Santa corrected.
Xander looked at him, “I know and I thank you for that, but it is still time for me to go back.”
Mrs. Claus walked over to her grandson and gave him a big hug. “Thank you for coming and helping us.”
“You’re my family.” Xander turned to his grandfather. “It is time to take the power back.”
“Nonsense, the power is yours boy. The only think I can take back is the active mantle of Santa. If that is what you want me to do?”
“For now Gramps, you aren’t ready to retire yet and you know it. You’d be bored silly.”
His grandfather for all his grousing understood and was really proud of his boy. He placed his hand on Xander’s shoulder and he became once more ‘the Santa’.
“Thank you both,” He smiled at them, his eyes moist. “I love you and I will see you soon.” He placed his finger to his nose and winked as he disappeared with a smile in a shower of red and green sparkles.
“The boy has talent,” Santa nodded approvingly.
His grandmother agreed, “he gets that from my side of the family.”
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Xander reformed wearing winter snow gear with a small duffle bag on the sidewalk outside of 1225 Holly Berry Lane. The lawn was covered in snow and there was smoke coming out of the two chimneys. The walks and the driveway were still covered, un-shoveled, a testament that those in the house were in no hurry to leave. That thought made Xander smile. A smile that grew when he noticed that there was still a Scooby flag flying from the middle of the shared porch.
He swung the duffle on his back and walked up the lawn and on to the porch. He walked over and looked into Willow’s window. He didn’t see anything. He then went to look into Buffy’s window and saw Buffy, Dawn, Giles, Willow, and Oz all sitting around the table having dinner. He noticed there was one empty chair.
He walked over to the door and rang the bell. It had only been two months since he saw them last, but he felt nervous. It felt like everything was different now.
Inside, the people at the table heard the doorbell.
Giles turned to the door. “Who could it be in this weather?” He stood to answer the door as everyone else watched him go.
“Could it be Faith and Robin?” Buffy asked.
Willow shook her head. “No, they are helping Angel in L.A.”
Dawn gasp as she realized there was only one other person who would come in this amount of snow to see them. She stood as Giles open the door.
“Hey, Giles,” Xander stood at the door smiling.
Giles reached forward and took the boy in a hug, something Xander did not expect, but the move was not unwelcome.
Dawn practically jumped them both, “Xander!”
Giles pulled away in time to not be caught as Willow and Buffy joined in the hug.
“You’re back, I missed you so much,” Willow said quickly.
“Me, too,” Buffy smiled.
The girls all pulled him into the house.
“How did you find us?” “Where have you been?” “Are you cold? Hungry?”
They didn’t let him answer, but it was the ever observant Oz who noticed something first. “You have two eyes.”
The girls looked at him again. He did have two eyes.
Xander grinned, “I had an unusual Christmas. This was sort of a side-effect.”
Giles and the others simply assumed he had a mysterious benefactor as they had. “Xander, sit and finish dinner with us. I think we have a lot of stories to exchange.”
The group of friends did just that. They ate and shared stories. Xander was thrilled to hear how well his gifts had turned out. Apparently, they all had had a very Merry Christmas . . .
I hope you did/will too . . .