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Gifts Of Time And Love

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Introduction

December 20th

 

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas"

-Peg Bracken

 

“I cannot bloody believe you!”

 

“Aw, Mi, c’mon. Gimme a break here! How was I supposed to know they didn’t have their big revelation? Miles Chang whined, shrugging off his black leather jacket and tossing it haphazardly on the back of the sofa.

 

How many minute had passed since he walked through the door? He was certain it was less than two. Possibly two seconds, knowing how Naomi got when somebody pissed her off.

 

And she was definitely pissed off.

 

It didn’t help that it had been a long day down at the station, where he’d been pulling double shifts since James had moved on. Not to mention dealing with his delight of a new partner, Ana Lucia – oh yeah, now there was a sparkling personality if he’d ever seen one.

 

And it wasn’t like he’d done anything wrong.

 

Alright, so maybe he’d screwed this one up ever so slightly. But really, he and Linus had set everything into motion. Everything. The plan had been arranged down to the very minute of their first encounter, even seemingly minor details accounted for. There was no earthly (or purgatorial, or heavenly) way those two could blow it.

 

Then again, it was Daniel and Charlotte they were speaking of.

 

Having had the pleasure of knowing both their real life and after life selves, this whole fiasco shouldn’t have come as a surprise. They were as dense and oblivious in this world as they had been in the last.

 

Across the room, Naomi scoffed, eyes rolling back into her head and she shook a stiletto heel at him. “How were you supposed to know? How were you supposed to know? Gee, I don’t know you stupid wanker. Normally it’s a pretty big revelation, realizing you’re DEAD! Christ, how did I get stuck spending my afterlife with an idiot?”

 

“You fell in love with my dashing good looks? Heroic afterlife career choice? Awesome real life super ghost talking powers?”

 

No sooner were the words out of his mouth than he found himself dodging the black stiletto that had been in his girlfriend-slash-soulmates hand.

  

"You. Are. Not. Helping."

 

"I live to serve," he said with a faux bow.

 

“Should have chucked you overboard when we were on the Kahana. Would have saved me the trouble of having a crush on you. Now I’m stuck with you for all bloody eternity.”

 

He smirked. Miles couldn’t help the satisfaction that overtook him whenever Naomi hinted at her true feelings for him. She loathed admitting she was anything other than a tough girl – in death, just as in real life. But somehow their relationship had thrived since their first encounter, when he pulled her over for road rage and subsequently arrested her for assaulting an officer.

 

Whoever said there was no romance in jail had clearly never met Miles Chang and Naomi Dorrit.

 

“You could have done that, but then where would you be?” he said over his shoulder, loosening his tie and unbuttoning his dress shirt as he headed for the master bathroom. Days like today required a good, long shower, followed by an ice cold beer.

 

"Still dead, likely with a more intelligent companion. Now, would you kindly explain how the hell you're going to fix this?"

 

"Jesus, Naomi, I'll take care of it. It's not like we're on a schedule here." He chucked his dress shirt haphazardly at the hamper. It missed.

 

"Actually..." she started, picking the shirt, and wringing it in her hands.

 

"Son of a bitch," he muttered, stealing his best friend and former partner's catch phrase. "What happened 'Mi?"

 

"Ben Linus called today."

 

Flopping backwards onto the bed, he covered his eyes. God he didn't want to ask, didn't want to know. "What did Ol' Bug Eyes want?"

 

"Illana and Bram had their moment," she replied tersely.

 

"So?"

 

"So? So? That means Dan and Charlotte are the only holdouts on moments of revelation."

 

"Your point?"

 

Not like Miles had to ask. The sinking pit of dread in his stomach pretty much summed up Naomi's next words.

 

"The time is set, Miles. That's what Linus called to tell us. There's a time set, and we're crossing over. And if Dan and Charlotte aren't there, that's it. They missed their chance." Worry lines crisscrossed her face, and Miles could feel the guilt overtaking him. Naomi just didn’t get this worried or upset, it just didn’t happen. Besides, Dan and Charlotte, despite being horrible screwed up and completely mental, were the two people he could depend on during their time on Craphole Island. They had his back more than once.  He couldn’t abandon them here.

 

Damn he’d really screwed this up.

 

"Shiiiiit... how long do I have?"

 

"’Til Christmas."

 

He sprang from the bed, his back aching from the sudden movement. “Shit, Mi. That gives me five days at the most. Dan’s still pining for Theresa and Charlotte’s convinced she’s future spinster material. How the hell am I going to make them fall in love, much less regain the memories of their past lives in five friggen’ days?”

 

“Perhaps by getting up off your bloody ass and finding them? Because for some God awful reason, when I move on to whatever comes next, I’d prefer to have you and your incredibly dense self accompanying me. And that’s not gonna happen if you don’t fix this.”

 

She turned away from him, heading for their bathroom. She gripped the door handle before turning back to him, staring him down. “Well? Move!”

 

Grabbing a clean t-shirt and his jacket, he headed for the door, for once in his (after) life heeding Naomi’s advice.

 

How the hell am I gonna get myself out of this one?