Monosyllabic Eccentricity

Title: Winter Smile
Author: Karen
Rating: G
Spoilers: Post Amends
Summary: Cordelia has trouble getting presents home for Christmas
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Website: OzMIA
Author's Note: For Nickle.

"I’m cold." Cordelia wasn’t complaining. Not entirely… Snow was a thing that happened in Aspen, not in Sunnydale and yet it was snowing hard. It had started as a soft flutter and turned into a heavy thick weight, dropping in sheets across her perfect coffee colored shoulder length hair that cost a lot of money to be all perfectly shiny.

But the real reason was stupid Christmas time. This year was turning out to be the worst one yet. She was running out of money. Her dad kept saying it would be okay but lawyers kept taking her things away and to top it all of she had a broken heart. And a shiny new scar across her abdomen… All because of stupid Xander.

Cordelia hugged her bag of presents close to her chest and tied not to think about the last couple of months. But it was hard. The bags kept jarring her stomach and the scar kept aching and the snow kept falling like it was some stupid merry little fairyland. She sniffed. Hit a patch of ice and tumbled. The bag fell and all the presents skittered out, little escapees from Prison Chase.

"Ow, damn it! Damn it!" Cordelia pounded the iced ground on either side of her in frustration. She felt big fat tears welling up in her eyes and bit her lip to stop them. Pain made her want to cry more so she dropped her head into her hands to get a hold of herself.

"Hey, you okay?"

Cordelia raised her head, "No I am not having a good time. I am not okay! All I wanted to do was take these stupid presents home to my stupid family and I fall on the stupid ice that isn’t even supposed to be here. I bet Buffy had something to do with it. She hates me. She’d make it snow just to… Oz."

Oz stood calmly above her. His hands were painted their customary black and outstretched to help her up. She smiled up at him. He was tall for once, towering over her, his red spiky hair undaunted by the fat snowflakes. They were actually impaled on a few red tufts. His cheeks matched his hair and broke up his pallid skin. He looked almost natural. A soft smile caught fire in his green eyes and Cordelia felt her mood shifting. She took his hands and smirked at her self.

"Thanks." She told him when she was once again on her feet. "Now should I risk the presents?"

"I’ll risk. You stay put." He offered her a charming bow and started gathering presents with an animal grace which made sense. Oz was a werewolf.

She watched him, careful not to move, to risk another fall. And then he was done. Everything was back in the bag, not too soggy and Oz handed it to her. She accidentally brushed his hand when she grabbed t he bag and smiled widely in apology. He smiled back at her and they stood that way for a long time in the snow.

The longer Cordelia stared into his eyes the more she felt connected to him. After all Willow had betrayed Oz. Xander had betrayed Cordelia. They were comrades in arms from some stupid after school special and she liked to think it made them friends.

Oz broke the silence. "Do you want me to walk you? Guard your back?"

Cordelia couldn’t get the goofy grin off her face. It was nice that he cared. No one else seemed to and it made her think she might be right about them almost being friends. "Don’t you have some place to be?" That sounded harsh. "I mean, weren’t you heading somewhere? I don’t want to ruin your plans…"

Oz tucked an imaginary piece of hair behind one ear. "No, oh, yeah but I don’t have to be there for a few. I can have you back and make it on time. I won’t leave you stranded."

"Yeah, stranded in a freak snow storm… not my idea of a fun Christmas."

To her surprise, Oz took her arm. He was gentle and comfortable against her. Arms linked, they walked the few blocks to her house in companionable silence. She stood at the base of her property and she imagined he lingered a second before letting her go. It was a nice thought. Probably all in her head though…

"Well, here I am."

"Here you are," He was smiling at her again.

She swung her bag of presents and remembered something. "Oh!"

He raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, oh, right!" She leaned over t he bag and scrambled around until she found the tiny box. "I got you something!"

Cordelia had picked it out a while back and had no idea why she had bought him a present. But now she was glad she had. Of course she also had presents for a few ex-friends but she was re-gifting them. "Here."

Oz took it reverently. He nodded thanks.

"Open it."

Oz pulled the bow off the tiny box and lifted the lid. A bright smile warmed inside his eyes and slowly crept across his face like sunrise. He pulled out a blue pick. Inside the box she had put about a hundred of the things. His hand placed it gently back into the box as if it were gold or something by Donna Karen.

"Thoughtful," he complimented her. He smile was incredibly warm and made her smile again. But then a thick murkiness shrouded his vision and Cordelia wondered if she had done something wrong. "I don’t have anything for you…"

Cordelia rolled her eyes, "I don’t always buy presents to get presents."

 Oz nodded. "Wait."

Cordelia shivered a little. The snow had her soaked through. Oz stepped in close and she thought he was going to hug her. She lifted her arms and he did wrap his arms around her body. But instead of laying his head on her shoulder, he moved in close and the warmth of his eyes confused her. Confused her until, he placed his lips gently against hers. Cordelia was shocked and her mouth opened a bit, deepening the kiss.

Oz let go of her and stepped back, breaking her hold on him. He held up the box in salute and turned around. In an instant he had vanished into the snow.

Cordelia hugged herself, still feeling his warmth and she smiled.