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Chapter 1


Written by September Smith
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

"I think the worst thing that ever happened to me at Christmas was when I found out there was no Santa Claus", Warren Worthington said. "Christmas was never the same after that."

Agreements and acknowledgments from several members of the group sitting around the Christmas tree confirmed Angel's thoughts. It was Christmas Eve,and all the X-teams had gathered in the mansion to celebrate the holidays. Turkey had been eaten, gifts had been presented, egg nog had been passed around, and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" had just ended. After a busy day of festivities, everyone was content to gather around the decorated tree and share stories of holidays passed.

"I was eight years old. My father had a great big company Christmas party, complete with Santa Claus for the kids. I had to use the bathroom, and as I was walking in, I saw "Santa" without his suit, beard, everything. It turned

out to be one of my father's employees. I was crushed," Warren continued. "Poor guy, he had no idea what to say to me."

"Well, I found out there was no Santa Claus when I was nine," Jean Grey began. "It was the year I first started coming into my telepathic powers; I'd started seeing images in other people's minds. I saw an image in my mom's

mind of what to tell me when I found out there was no Santa Claus. Ironic kinda."

"Ah found out when ah was nine too," Rogue began softly. "It was a tradition 'tween me and my mama to put out all the gifts together Christmas Eve, and then leave cookies for Santa. Well, ah was puttin em out when ah

came across a pile of gifts; to me, from Santa. Ah just couldn't believe it. The next mornin my parents were all excited to see what "Santa" had brought me. Ah just went along that year; couldn't think of a way to tell them I knew

there was no Santa."

Rogue smiled sadly as she remembered that year. No one else in the group commented; it was rare that Rogue talked about her birth parents or her life before her powers.

"Well, who's next?" Rogue asked, breaking the silence before it became uncomfortable. "What about you, Remy?" she questioned, turning to the man she was snuggled against.

Remy LeBeau had remained quiet throughout the conversation. Unlike the others, he had never experienced Christmas as a child, having grown up in the streets of New Orleans. It wasn't until Jean Luc, leader of the Thieves Guild of New Orleans, had adopted him that he first tasted the holidays as they were meant to be enjoyed. All the holiday had meant to him before this was more people to snitch wallets from, and funny men in red suits, who rang bells and collected money in easily-stolen from pots. How could he tell the others that

he had never believed- no,- never got the chance to believe in Santa Claus? That the lights and trees and gifts and decorations held no meaning for him, other than a time when he found something to eat and wear with a little more ease. So instead of ruining the fun with his maudlin tale, which they surely wouldn't want to hear on a festive night like this, he gave them what they wanted to hear.

"I saw one o' dose sidewalk Santas gettin' changed," he stated after a brief pause. "Dat was the end of dat."

Hopefully, no one would notice his hesitation, or the sadness he had tried so hard to hide. Luck was with him tonight, as the game continued around the room. After some more stories (and just half a cup more of eggnog:), the X-people gradually made their way to bed. For twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a --but one creature was stirring. Remy LeBeau, X-man, cajan, and thief, was

changing out of the dress clothes of the evening, into an outfit more appropriate for the night to come. The green fabric fit him like a glove, and after donning his red cap, he jingled out the window. The mansion was dark

and quiet as he rode his Harley towards New York; no one was awake to witness his departure.

Remy carefully pried open the window of a rundown apartment complex, the next one on his hitlist. His Master thief skills would have allowed him to steal from the richest of the rich; however, his targets tonight were the poorest of the poor. As he slipped into the almost bare room, he thought to himself *No one should grow up without a chance to believe. Every kid deserves a chance.* For Remy's plans weren't to steal tonight, but to give; to give the most destitute families a little hope, and to give their kids a chance to believe in Santa Claus. It was a tradition Remy had started when he first joined the X-Men. That had been the first time he had celebrated Christmas with a family in a very long time. His hope had been renewed, if only the smallest bit, and his conscience had started to speak up. The team had adopted a family to donate gifts to- one of those families who's name gets put on a tag and hung on a tree at so-and-so a store, for someone to take off and buy gifts for. Well, Remy'd gotten an idea. He knew from experience there were families poorer than those whose name got put on that tree. Using his thief's skills, he'd found out the names and locations of the families in New York who couldn't even afford a tag on the tree. It was for these families he bought toys for. And on Christmas

Eve, he had silently entered their houses, dressed as a green elf, and left gifts from "Santa" for them.

With the night before Christmas coming to an end, Remy headed home to Westchester. His rounds complete, Santa's helper crawled happily into bed and fell asleep, with visions of ..."Sugah!"

"huh?!" Remy sat straight up in bed at the shout outside his door.

"Remy, sugah, it's Christmas! Get up-we can't start without you!" His love Rogue called.

Glancing at his bedside clock, Remy saw he'd only been asleep for an hour.

*Oh well, can't keep 'em waiting* he thought as he dragged himself out of bed.

After gifts had been exchanged, and wrapping paper cleaned up, the X-families sat down to an enormous Christmas brunch. The friendly banter circulating the room ended when a story on the news caught everyone's attention.

"And today," the announcer began, "we have a story that truly shows the spirit of Christmas. Across New York City, some of the poorest families woke up this morning to find presents left for them from "Santa Claus". Most would assume these families were part of the citywide "Secret Santa" project created by the YMCA. However, none of these families were on the YMCA's list. This is the third year in a row that an event like this has occurred. We talked to one little girl who claims she spied on the secret St. Nick".

"I wuz comin frou the liver room to get a drink," the three year old girl stated. "Fere wuz a man in the liver room puttin' down pwesents. He wuz dressed all in gween wif a red hat and jingle-bell shoes (a giggle). He wooked funny. I watched him go out frou fa window. Fen a called mommy, and we had Cwistmas."

All around the kitchen table, awws and exclamations could be heard. No one found Remy's smile of satisfaction any different then the smiles on their own faces, nor did they see the sparkle of happiness or tears, in his red eyes, hidden behind a new pair of Ray-Bans.


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