Title: Ducks and Silver Glass
Author: Robyn the Snowshoe Hare
Part: 1/1
Rating: PG

 Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Joss, Mutant Enemy, and the rat-bastards at FOX.

 Author's Notes: I was decorating the tree today, and this popped into my head. The muse is in another depressing mood, people, so I'd recommend you reach minimum safe distance.


 The kids decorated the tree today.

 They wanted me to help, to get me involved. I know that they've been worried about me, especially around Christmas. Forty-four years are a long time, but did they really think that it was necessary for all three of them to assault me? I would've been happy with just Robby coming down with Lauren and the boys. Jerri and Greg couldn't be bothered with visiting when you were here - it's stupid that they should try and make up now.

 I'm being an ass, I know.

That's how the three of them, the poor fools that Jerri and Robby conned into marrying them, and all those grandchildren look at me. A grouchy old man who sits in his chair and drinks more than the doctor says he should. Not much without my better half, am I, darlin'?

You'd be proud of Jerri, though. That little witch takes after you more than any child should. I know that Greg and Robby told her to leave me alone, but that uppity daughter of yours actually marched upstairs and threatened to drag me down by what's left of my hair. If I'd known that this is what it would come to, I never would've been so happy when she first started talking.

The kids deigned to let me sit down while they decorated - Jerri couldn't really argue too much, since my knee has been acting up again - but they made sure that I wasn't going anywhere by plopping Robby's latest son on my lap. That was just underhanded. Almost as bad as when they named the kid after me.

You'd laugh, I know. He and Lauren were giving it one more shot for a girl, and were planning on naming it after you. I guess I was their next best choice, since even those two would think twice about giving a boy your name.

So there I was, with little Alan Francis drooling all over my hand, while the rest of the group fiddled around with the ornaments. I wanted to yell at them, even though they're just trying to help. But I cringed every time I saw one of them pick up a ball and not know just what it meant - how special it was.

 I watched when Greg opened the box of silver glass balls. Our first Christmas together, do you remember that? You insisted on going through the entire store before we found the 'right ones'. You were so scared that I would buy that box of duck ornaments if you let me out of your sight.

I did, of course.

Everyone who saw that tree nearly laughed their asses off. Half of the ornaments were beautiful silver glass, and the rest were wooden ducks with Santa hats. Then on Christmas eve, you gave me another ornament that you had found - another duck. Where did you find one that had a liqueur bottle tucked under one wing?

It must've been some fad or something that year, because I never saw ornaments like those again. We got others, of course. After we moved into the house, we had room for a real tree almost twice as big as the little plastic one we kept in the apartment. We had to get more ornaments to fill it up. Every year we picked out a few more, filling out the tree. Then when Robby and Jerri were born we had to get the plastic ones for the bottom branches so that we didn't have to worry about the babies breaking any. By the time Greg was born, we had a lot of paper ornaments from school art classes.

 But the silver glass and the ducks were ours. Even last Christmas, when you were too sick to even sit up on the couch, you remembered. You were so tired, and in so much pain, but you were as beautiful to me then as you were the first day I saw you.

 For the first time, I really know why Angel envied us so much. Being able to grow old with you was the most wonderful gift I was ever given. Waking up on our thirty-fifth anniversary and loving you as much as I did on our first was worth every moment of pain I ever suffered. Sitting next to your hospital bed when the drugs were making you sick, I never once regretted being with you.

I miss you. But I have the ducks and that silver glass, and I remember how happy I was with you. I know that you're waiting for me.

 But really, are you sure that these are my kids? You assured me a thousand times, but watching them get tangled in lights, garlands, and ornament hooks, it worries me that these are our legacy to the world.

 I wish you could hit me for saying that.

 Merry Christmas, Cordelia.

 Your loving husband,