"Don't you have minions to be having Christmas with?"
Magnus looked up from the invoice on her desk with some surprise, wary of the familiar voice suddenly at her window, but without fear. The door hadn't opened, but then odder things happened in the Sanctuary. Though John appearing on Christmas -- any Christmas -- should have been counted high among them.
She held her tongue to keep from rising to the bait of his insult toward her colleagues, her friends.
"To what do I owe this pleasure, John?" She asked it flat and professional, since she hadn't seen him in weeks. Not since.
John turned to look out the large window in her closed office. "The snow is never clean enough here. I don't know how you manage to find it festive at all."
Magnus frowned at the hand on her window and his tone. "Are you here to insult the Sanctuary, or just me?"
He didn't respond, long enough Magnus stood up. The only sound in the room the wheels of her chair rolling back on the plastic pad under her desk that protected the carpet. As though sensing what she meant to do or fearing what she might, he spoke again.
"I bought her a present." Magnus had stopped, stock still. Ashley. It--she was the reason Will had convinced everyone to stay. Even when Magnus had tried to convince him she was fine, that they could go home, even then she was grateful the house wasn't empty. But John?
"Every year after I found out." His voice would have sounded imperviously steady to anyone else, but they'd had over a century to know each other. She could hear the tremor in even the smallest part of it. "I would acquire them, like it was some game, but then I would give them away. To someone, anyone, leave them on a bench or a street corner or a table. I couldn't--"
He stopped when she'd crossed the room, and was standing not too far from him. But he didn't look, he didn't want to see what her all to knowing eyes would hold. He hadn't deserved to give her anything then, and now -- now he was far too late.
Even all the actions he'd made in the time before she died. Too little, too late, never enough, not with how it had all played out.
"I shouldn't have come--"
"Don't go." Magnus broke in, hard and commanding, and he did look.
At those eyes, blue-grey-green like mist, always displaying all of her emotions and none of her thoughts. They way they pierced him, weighing him and all his sins, and he waited for the next order at the clench of her jaw and the press of her lips.
"You could stay and have Christmas with us," Magnus held out a hand to him.
John looked from her hand to her face a few times, staring longer at both with each passing turn. It was with reluctance, and the very smallest glimmer of what Magnus would call an intimately familiar desperate relief, that he placed his hand in hers.
"Thank you, Helen."