Title: Family Traditions
Fandom: Angel the Series
Word Count: 940
Prompt: "Peppermint.” from svgurl
It was Christmas Eve and the Hyperion Hotel was quiet expect for the soft sounds of Christmas music wafting from the speakers that Cordelia had demanded they fix. Fred was spending the night at Gunn’s and Wesley had gone home hours ago.
Angel had spent the last few hours wrapping gifts with Cordelia while Connor played between them. The last thing he remembered was falling asleep beside Cordelia and his son. Now there he was not even two hours later awake and slightly confused.
He had been pulled from sleep by a familiar smell and when he’d glanced around he couldn’t find Cordelia anywhere. So he got up, put Connor carefully in his crib and went in search of his seer wondering if she’d woken up and made her way home not wanting to wake him.
Angel glanced at the clock as he made his way down the spiral staircase. It was a little before midnight and when he reached the bottom of the stairs he glanced towards the corner where the large tree stood, decked out in all kinds of decorations, lighting up the lobby with warmth.
He smiled as he took in the tree before taking a deep breath the smell once again invading his nostrils. Angel shifted turning his body towards the kitchen and heading in that direction. As he got closer he paused right in the doorway, eyes sliding shut as he took another whiff of the scent permeating the air and he was suddenly surrounded by memories of his past.
Not the usual ones that made him cringe, but ones from his childhood. The smell was Agonis flexuosa or better known today as Peppermint. When he was younger his Mother used to grow it in her garden and use it to make oils and lotions for people in their town.
He remembered how her hands used to smell of it when she came to tuck him in at night. He’d always associated the smell with family and comfort. The thought made warmth settle in his chest as he pushed his feet forward moving into the spacious kitchen.
He caught sight of Cordelia in front of the stainless steel counter as she plucked leaves from the medium sized plant in front of her. Angel came up behind her, voice soft as he spoke. “What are you doing?” She jumped, her hand flying to her heart as she spun around to face him.
She sucked in a deep breath and glared lightly at him. “That’s it…I’m buying you a bell and this time I’m not even kidding. You do realize that some of us can actually have heart attacks right?” He grinned, “Cordy…what are you doing? I woke up and you were gone…Connor missed you.”
He saw her lip turn up at the corner eyes gleaming as she went back to plucking off leaves. “Mmm Connor missed me did he? Well I just came down to make a cup of tea.” Angel frowned as he moved around her and towards the cabinet.
He pulled out several boxes of herbal tea and held them up to her. “You realize I bought these for you right?” Cordelia smiled as she gathered the leaves and put them into a diffuser before placing the small ball into her mug. “I know…I just…I wanted some peppermint tea…and when we were out earlier I saw the plant…”
She paused before glancing away from him and down at the mug. She spoke in a quiet voice avoiding his eyes. “When I was younger and my parents went away for the holidays, our housekeeper Rosa would stay with me until I was about thirteen and I started to go with my parents. But whenever I stayed with her…she’d always make fresh peppermint tea on Christmas Eve.”
Angel watched as she glanced up a flush of embarrassment on her face as she shrugged. “I don’t know…I guess it just reminds me of when I was younger…before everything got all crazy. It was our tradition. You know?” He gave her a warm smile.
“Actually…I really do. How about we make two cups…and then go back upstairs and watch that Christmas movie you wanted to watch earlier…we can start our own Christmas tradition…one that we can let Connor in on when he’s old enough.” She bit her lower lip as she studied him before her eyes softened and a grin broke out on her face.
“Okay…that’ll be nice…to have our own tradition. Like a real…” her voice trailed off as she sucked in a deep breath and caught his eyes. He swallowed hard before speaking. “Like a real family…yeah it would be nice.” She smiled and when the kettle whistled signaling it was done she moved to his side and turned it off before leaning up and pulling him into a hug.
He wrapped his arms around her tightly and placed a kiss on the top of her head. When she spoke her voice was barely a whisper, but he heard her clearly. “Thank you.” He pulled back from her and brushed a strand of hair behind her ears as he shook his head.
“No, thank you.” She gave him her 1000 watt smile before moving to poor them both a cup of tea. He watched her movements and let out a content sigh. This was the first Christmas in over a century that Angel was looking forward to and he owed it all to the woman in front of him.
The clock in the other room chimed as Cordelia handed him his cup with a smile. “Merry Christmas Angel.” He smiled down on her “Merry Christmas Cordy.”