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The following is a work of fiction. Any statements regarding any person, place, or other entity (real or imaginary) is the sole responibility of the author of this work of fiction. Fan Works Inc. takes no responsibility for the content of user submitted stories. All stories based on real people are works of fiction and do not necessarily reflect on the nature of the individuals featured. All stories based on other copyrighted works are written with authors knowing that these works violate copyright laws.

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Christmas Magic
By Darchangel

 

Totally fictional. Iris, James, and Doreen are Marshall's *fictional* wife and infant twins from
another story in progress. Onward.
/////
Snow fell heavily, covering the surroundings in an even layer. It'd been like this God knew how
long. Marshall glanced at his watch. It felt like he'd been wandering for hours but it was only 7:18
now. Hopefully by nine the plane would be in working order again. He grit his teeth.
'Christmas Eve isn't for being stranded in Ohio slums. I'm supposed to be home now. Hailie needs me.
James and Doreen need me. Iris needs me. Why'd I hafta take the cheap flight?'
The slums of Columbus, Ohio...Iris' hometown. Just like 8 Mile Road divided the black and white of
Detroit, it was easy to see where the rich part of Columbus ended and the poor began.
'I can't blame Iris for wantin' to get away,' he thought as he kept walking. Nothing was left here
for her. Her father and grandparents had been dead a long time, her brother was in LA with his wife,
and her mother- well, it was a mystery where she was now, but Iris continually said that she didn't
care.
Houses lining the streets had sparse decorations in an attempt to look cheerful, but a knocked-over
Nativity scene ruined the mood. Depressing.
'Why can't I be with my family now? The kids an' Iris are all I have.'
A sniff interrupted his thoughts. Marshall turned to see a small figure crouched between two houses,
dressed for the opposite of the weather.
"Hey...kid?"
The figure lifted its head, and Marshall saw it as a girl with dark tousled hair. Her eyes were
swimming behind Coke-bottle lenses and her small dress was printed with a disco motif. Geez, was
disco back?
"Are you OK? You lost?"
The girl drew herself up- she looked about 10. "I ran off, but I wanna go back now."
Marshall stepped closer to the girl without being intruding. "You need help gettin' home?"
"No!" she said defiantly and turned away. "You're a stranger."
He shrugged. "OK. Sorry 'bout that." He shook his head and continued walking until he heard the girl
call out.
"Wait! Wait, mister!" He turned again. The girl was catching up to him. "Can I just follow you til I
reach my house? It's scary around here."
"You sure?" Marshall wiggled his eyebrows comically. "I *am* a stranger."
The girl pouted and said, "Just don't touch me."
"Fine." He smiled and made a show of putting his hands in his pockets. "Won't touch a thing." He
continued his pace and the girl slowly made her way beside him.
"Are you from around here?" she asked.
"No. My plane got stuck and I'm killin' time til I hafta get back. My wife an' kids are waitin' for
me."
"It must be awful being away from your family on Christmas." The girl looked the ground and sighed.
"Well, that happens sometimes." Marshall didn't notice until then the bruises on her arms and legs.
"What're you doin' out anyway, princess?"
"My mom's mad at everybody, so I ran." Her pout became more distinct. "She always mad at my brother
and me! And ever since Daddy's been in the hospital it's been worse! I want him home for Christmas
but he can't come!"
"You can visit him tomorrow."
"It's not the same! I want my daddy!" She covered her face and began sobbing. The two stopped
walking and Marshall kneeled down beside her.
"I'm sure your daddy'll be out soon, princess, your mom's just stressed."
"It's not that! She doesn't want him to come home!"
That was a surprise and a half to Marshall. "Boy, your mom's not anything like my wife. She'd be
worried sick if it was me."
"She's always saying Daddy ruined her life after they got married, but he didn't do anything wrong,
honest!" She lifted her head again. There were marks under her eyes as well. "She drinks all the
time and gets mean at everybody. She's even mad at my granny! It's not fair!"
Marshall sighed. That reminded him so much of when he was growing up. He only hoped his kids would
never have to go through the same thing.
"A lot of things ain't fair, princess, but nobody knows why." He smiled. "You're pretty. You remind
me of my little girls, y'know that?"
"Really?" Her expression brightened. "Do you have a boy, too?"
"Yep. He an' a girl are twins."
"Cool!" The girl grinned widely. "Twins are sooo neat! I thought my brother was gonna be twins but
it didn't happen. I'm making sure I have twins when I grow up."
"Really?" Marshall asked with a smile.
"Yep." She wrapped her arms around herself in a hug. "And I'm gonna be a good mom."
"I'm sure you will." The two kept walking. "Hey, maybe when your dad's outta the hospital your mom
might be nicer."
"I hope so." The girl looked up at him. "Are you on TV? You look kinda familiar."
'So do you, princess,' Marshall thought, but he just said, "No." If she didn't recognize him there
was no point in making a fuss.
The girl looked up the road. "There's my house. I hope Mom's not mad I ran off."
"Nah, she'll be happy you're back, that's what's important." Marshall looked toward the house, down
at the girl, and kneeled to be eye-to-eye. He gathered a little snow in his hands as he talked.
"Look, princess, don't feel so bad about your family. Your mom may be hard on you, but it'll get
better, I promise, cuz you're all she's got." He tossed his snowball in the air and let it fall to
his feet. "You just hafta learn to cope. You have things you like to do?"
"Yep."
"Then keep 'em up." He gingerly touched the squished snowball. "My wife an' I did, an' it led us to
each other."
The girl looked at him for along time with a thoughtful expression. She scooped the snowball in her
hands, patted it around, and let it drop again. "You're just like my daddy." She smiled, turned, and
ran toward the house. "Merry Christmas, mister!"
"You too, princess," Marshall said and began walking away. He was dead tired of wandering, better to
head back to the airport and wait.
About a block from the house, Marshall stopped in his tracks. Did she make it back in? He never
heard a door open. Turning back, he ran to the front porch and knocked.
The door opened slightly to reveal the face of a red-haired woman in her forties. 'Yeah, whaddya
want?"
Marshall tipped the hood of his jacket like a hat. "Evenin', ma'am. I was just seein' if your little
girl got home all right."
"My what?" The woman's expression turned stunned. "What are you talking about? I don't have a
girl."
"Uh..." Whoa, this was weird. Marshall looked around. "I'm sure I have the right house. I was
walkin' a little girl with black hair home and-"
"No one else has lived here besides me and the family before."
"Oh." He stepped back a little. "Uh...you knew them?"
The woman scoffed. "Everyone heard of the Dawsons. Craziest bunch I ever saw. The house emptied out
after the daughter married that thug. You have the wrong place, mister." With that she slammed the
door in Marshall's face.
"Yeah, Merry Christmas to you, too," he said quietly. With shock he stepped away from the house. He
was sure he had the right place...did that woman say what he thought she did? Whatever. He continued
walking back towards the airport, head down.
What he saw on the ground made him stop again.
There were only his footprints where he and the little girl walked.

Iris sat at the base of the tree and sighed at the twinkling lights. She couldn't sleep whenever
Marshall was away, and this was the first holiday he'd been gone.
'Just like when I was young, my family was gone from me.' She sighed again and cupped a package Eric
and Caitlin had sent for the twins. 'Eric always said when he grew up he'd move as far from Ohio as
possible. So many times he tried running away after Dad died. Even when she ran off the Christmas
before-'
A jiggling came from the front door and Iris ran to it. A familiar figure with a bundle of packages
was there to meet her.
"Hey, baby."
"Marshall!" She wrapped her arms tightly around him. "I didn't expect you at this hour."
"Were you guessin' Santa Claus?" he smiled.
Iris gave a soft laugh and kissed him. "You'd make a sexy Santa."
He stepped further into the house and followed his wife into the living room. "Great job with the
tree. Lookit all that loot!"
"Hey, you," she playfully cuffed his arm. "You can't touch anything til the kids are awake."
"Whatever." He placed his packages under the tree and Iris sat beside him.
"I missed you," she whispered.
"Me too, doll." He took his wife in his arms and held her close, feeling the rhythm of her
breathing.
She kept talking, "I was just thinking back to the Christmas before my father died. I ran from home
because Mother had gotten drunk and started arguing with everyone."
What the-? "You never told me that," Marshall said with unease.
"I'd nearly forgotten about it. But then I remembered when I was going back, I was talking to this
really nice man who was away from his family. He helped things feel better, even if we didn't know
each other."
Marshall's grip tightened. That was exactly what happened in Columbus. "You remember anything else
about him?"
"Yeah. He called me a princess and said I was just like his little girls. Too bad I never got his
name."
He relaxed his hold and looked down at Iris with love. Yes, he was certain now of who he'd been
talking to back in Ohio. He couldn't explain it, even to himself, but-
Well, things like that happened at Christmas.
"I'm really tired, Marshall. Can we go upstairs now?"
He nodded and the two stood up. On the way to their room, Iris said, "I can't stand it when you're
away."
"It's OK," he whispered and kissed her. "You're always with me in spirit."

 

The preceeding was a work of fiction. Any statements regarding any person, place, or other entity (real or imaginary) is the sole responibility of the author of this work of fiction. Fan Works Inc. takes no responsibility for the content of user submitted stories. All stories based on real people are works of fiction and do not necessarily reflect on the nature of the individuals featured. All stories based on other copyrighted works are written with authors knowing that these works violate copyright laws.

Please see the Terms of Service for more information.

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