What Child is This?
“Mmmm,” he mumbled.
“Ari, c’mon. Wakey, wakey.” She jostled his arm gently.
He finally peeled one eye open. She was lying next to him, beaming and looking not the least bit sleepy. “Morning, Maggie.”
“Good morning, Sleepyhead,” she grinned.
He frowned, running his hands over his face, trying to brush away the cobwebs clinging to his thoughts. The ordeal of his trial in the Angel’s Court of Heaven, say nothing of the change to his magic that the sentence of more or less joining humanity had wrought, left him a little worn out these past few weeks. And for Christmas Eve, Maggie had wanted to go to the midnight mass to honor her mother’s memory.
He yawned, “What time is it?”
She sat up, like she couldn’t lie still for another moment. “It’s already seven. You know, Ari, if we want to make good parents we shouldn’t make a practice of lounging in bed all morning, especially on Christmas.”
“Mmmm,” he mumbled again, and his eyes seemed to want to drift closed.
Clearly he hadn’t processed what she said, she thought with an almost wicked grin. “Ari, since when did you start sleeping in, by the way? You’re usually up with the sun!”
“I know it … I’ve just been a little tired lately … And we stayed up so late last night.”
She reached out and put a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it gently. “Are you feeling okay?”
He opened his eyes again and smiled up at her. “I’m good, Mags, honest. Just … That trip Above wore me out. I’m catching back up though.”
She frowned for a minute, looking concerned. Ari’s friend, who called himself Matt, but who was clearly a pretty badass angel with some clout, had come and told her that husband had business in Heaven and had sent Matt to keep an eye on things until he could return.
When Ari came home, he’d looked awful, had been tired and pale, and had slept the weekend away. But he’d assured her he was fine then, too. Just said he’d finally managed to arrange things so they could be together now, and forever, without much in the way of interference. It had been such welcome news, and he seemed so disinclined to talk about it, she’d simply let it go.
Now, she touched his face. “Are you really alright? This new being mostly human thing … Are you coming down with something? Can that even happen?”
He grinned and shifted himself into a sitting position. “I really am. And I honestly have no idea, Maggie. It’ll be a few months before everything’s settled, I think. But my friends are looking out for us.” He leaned toward her and kissed her cheek. “All I need is a cup of coffee, and then I’ll start our Christmas feast. I hope you’re prepared to help though, because I may need a sous chef for the meal I have planned for us.”
The lines of Maggie’s face had smoothed again, and she was once again smiling so broadly it was crinkling her eyes and lips in the most charming way possible. “Good! And I’d be happy to help cook. After.”
To Ari’s surprise, Maggie produced a small, neatly wrapped box from her nightstand.
“Open it,” she said almost breathlessly.
“Maggie,” he said, almost complaining, “We agreed. No presents.”
Read the rest in The Twelve Days of Fic-mas – Holiday Tales With a Twist Vol. I