The Heart of Christmas

by Amelia

Main Characters: Vin, Ezra

ATF Universe

I’m gonna make a wish this Christmas
I’m gonna say a little prayer
I’m gonna stop here for a moment
Before the moment disappears

It had been a good day with all seven men showing up to help out at the homeless shelter. Josiah had mentioned at work earlier that week how sad it was that the shelter was filled with so many families this year, that so many children wouldn't have a Christmas, within minutes of hearing it they all agreed to show up Saturday morning and help decorate for the season including getting a tree. And now here it was 3 in the afternoon on Christmas eve and the seven men smiled at the sight of all the children giggling and laughing with the warmth of the lights twinkling around the tree.

The world’s in a hurry this December
City streets and shopping malls
I wish we could slow down and remember
The meaning of it all

“Excuse me, I'm hoping some one can help me," asked a woman who had come through the front door with a little boy and girl in tow.

“What can I do for you?" Josiah asked stepping up to her.

“I'm trying to get home to my Granddad's. My car broke down this morning, but all I have is forty dollars and that isn't enough to have it fixed. I'm hoping that someone here will take the forty dollars for gas and drive us to Leadville, it's this side of Aspen. My Granddad lives just outside of there in Tennessee Pass. I tried calling him, but there's no answer. He's probably out hunting, but he should be home in a couple of hours. I know if we can get there, he can pick us up. Please do you know anyone who could?" she explained with a hopeful note in her voice.

Wherever you are, no matter how far

Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas
Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don’t miss it, the heart of Christmas

“Josiah, since you promised to cook that special roast for us at Chris's tonight, would ya mind riding out with one of the others and let me use your Jeep Cherokee to get them home?" Vin said, his heart determined, not to let them miss Christmas with family.

“That's fine, Vin, I'll ride out with Nathan." Josiah assured.

“Mr. Sanchez, if you wish, you could drive my beloved Jag out to our esteemed colleague's home and I will accompany Mr. Tanner with his delivery of this Christmas present so he won't have to return alone on the long ride back. I am sure as the lady's energy level is non existent from her recent worries that her little ones might need some distraction so she might be able to rest as the miles pass to our destination." Ezra suggested, smiling down at the two children who returned shy smiles.


Helping the woman and her children into the vehicle, Vin told Chris, "We should be back in about three hours no more than four. So don't start eating with out us."

Smirking Chris answered, "Vin, you know how JD gets when he's hungry and Buck isn't much better." He added as he started to close the door, "Be careful,"

Let’s make it feel the way it used to
Let’s find that wonder of a child
You can see the magic all around you
Come on, and open up your eyes

The drive to Leadville passed quickly, Ezra kept the children happy with stories of Ol' Saint Nick and his reindeer until they fell asleep with smiles on their faces and dreams of playing with elves, while Vin talked quietly with their mother. "Does your Granddad know your coming?" Vin asked.

“Yes. I called him Thursday night asking if we could come. I lost my job Monday, the company had to downsize. I paid off my car loan, I didn't want to move out of state and get in trouble about it. I had enough to get us home with some left over to live on till I found a another job, but I had a flat and no spare between Kansas and Colorado, then the fuel pump went just as I crossed the Colorado border. After that, well, with gas forty dollars was all I had left." the lady explained.

“For someone who's had it really bad, you seem more on the happy side." Vin wondered slightly confused about her relaxed tone.

Smiling at him, "It's Christmas and I'm going home. There is no better present or Christmas magic than home and family."

Nodding his head, Vin understood that. For so many years he had been alone, until he met the guys. And now he, too, had that great precious gift.

You can find it in the warm embrace of your family
Or calling up a long lost friend
You can even find it in the eyes of stranger
When you reach out a helping hand

Insisting on driving them to her Granddad's house, Vin used the argument that since it had started snowing and they were already out, it made no sense for him to have to go out and meet them. He handed her his cell phone. "Why don't you give him a call and tell him what happened and that we're bringing you and your children home?"

Doing as he said, she made the call. Hanging up and handing the phone back when she was finished, she told him, "Thank you for everything. I can't tell you how grateful I am."

Telling him where and when to turn, they left the town behind and slowly headed further up into the mountains. The children woke up when their mother told them they were almost there.

Turning onto an old gravel drive, it wasn't long before they stopped in front of a two story log home. An elderly man, who could have passed as ol' Saint Nick himself, came out. He greeted his family with a happy warm hug. Holding out his hand to Vin then Ezra, he thanked them with a whole heart of gratitude.

In the shadow of a steeple
In a star that lights the way
You will find Him in a manger
The heart of Christmas has a name

The trip going back at first was silent. Both men lost in their own thoughts. Neither of the men had to wonder if her words had been true, for they, too, were once on the outside looking in, wishing so fully to truly have family and loving kin. Looking at each other, knowing the same thought was there, they sped a little faster so they would get home sooner, wanting to feel that warmth when they were with their brothers.

I’m gonna make a wish this Christmas
I’m gonna say a little prayer

Pulling up in front of the house, they climbed out of the truck. They stepped up on the porch and looked in through the window at the sight of their friends laughing all around the room creating the warmth so bright. Twin smiles appearing on their faces, the two who once were outside looking in, now went through the door to where they belonged, within. Out to their brothers they called,

“Merry Christmas to our family and Happy Holidays to all!"

Wherever you are, no matter how far
Come back to the heart, the heart of Christmas
Live while you can, cherish the moment
The ones that you love, make sure they know it
Don’t miss it, the heart of Christmas

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