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Christmas Cheer

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“It… it’s nice.”

Cordelia laughed and shook her head. "That wasn't even close to convincing. But thanks." She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek as she passed by carrying a plate full of Christmas cookies. Looking around at the lights and garland strung about the hotel, she smiled. "It is pretty nice, isn't it?"

"Most definitely," Wesley replied, setting a pitcher of egg nog down next to her cookies. He eyed them a bit skeptically. "You made them yourself?"

"Yes." Cordelia's eyes narrowed. "You doubt my ability to cook?"

Wesley took a step back. "N-no, absolutely not. I'm sure they're delicious."

"I'm brave. I'll try one." Gunn reached over and grabbed a large snowman, taking a bit. He chewed thoughtfully, then nodded before swallowing. "Girl, there *is* something you can cook!"

She swatted his arm gently. "Hey, I'm not that... Aw, hell, I suck. But I can make cookies!"

Buoyed by Gunn's seal of approval, Wesley took a cookie as well. "Very good."

"Be careful how shocked you sound. I am standing awfully close to a full pitcher of egg nog," Cordelia warned.

Angel watched the scene with a smile. For the first time in a long time, he felt like he was celebrating Christmas with family. "Cordy, are you sure you'd want to clean the floor up if you did dump it over his head."

She tilted her head to the side. "Good point. Looks like you're safe for now."

Wesley inclined his head. "Thank you so very much. I hate to eat and run, but I am supposed to go to dinner with-"

Cordelia held up a hand. "Hey, no need to explain. Have fun with your little girlfriend. Go. Enjoy." She waved him away. "Shoo! Don't keep the girl waiting. That's *so* rude."

Wesley grinned. "Merry Christmas!"

A chorus of "Merry Christmas" came up from the three remaining revelers. Cordelia poured herself a glass of egg nog, then passed one to Gunn. "Angel, you want?"

He stared at the egg nog for a moment, then decided, "No thanks. Looks... iffy. ever been a bit egg nog fan. Not unless it was a thinly-veiled cover for rum."

"No such luck." She held up her glass. "To Christmas with family."

"To Cordelia's Christmas cookies!"

"To not having to go to Christmas parties!"

Gunn and Cordelia clinked their glasses together and Angel smiled. "Y'know, this is shaping up to be one heck of a Christmas," Cordelia commented. "I mean, no major disasters, no icky things to kill."

"Worked out pretty damn well." He glanced up at the clock. "But I promised a couple of people I'd make an appearance. Looks like I'm out too. Merry Christmas, y'all." With a wave, he started to walk out the door.

"Wait! Stop right there, mister!"

Gunn turned, one eyebrow raised. "What?" Cordelia pointed over his head and smiled. Gunn's eyes moved upward, then he smiled in realization. "Ah..."

Smiling, Cordelia stood on tiptoes and gave Gunn a quick kiss. "Wouldn't do to have these pretty decorations and forget the mistletoe."

"Certainly wouldn't." Putting one arm around her waist, he pulled her close and gave her a slightly more passionate version of her kiss. "Wouldn't do to forget that." He let go of her waist and stepped out the door. ordelia stood staring after him for a moment. It was Angel clearing his throat that snapped her out of it. "Uh, oh, yeah. Still here, still awake. Okay. Re-focusing my reality. I'll be with you any second."

"Take your time." Angel smiled and came up behind her. "I'm gonna go try and get some sleep." He kissed her cheek.

"Merry Christmas, Cordelia."

Turning, she returned his smile. "Merry Christmas, Angel."