Author: Sandy S.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss Whedon owns all.
Spoilers: Set post “Not Fade Away” and not comic book related. I’ve only read season 9 and two volumes of season 10. (I skipped season 8.)
Summary: Sent on a mission to find yet another slayer, Buffy is stuck in Colorado, it’s Christmas, and it’s snowing. Buffy POV.
A/N: Written especially for velvetwhip, zarrah04, inxsomniax, and my brother, John, with special thanks to facingthesun for help with the Christmas song at the end of the fic.
Huge thank you to velvetwhip for the beta read! You’re amazing, dear!
The fire has long since burned out when I wake, and somehow, Spike and I have fallen asleep, curled up on the sofa after talking long into the night. His arm is heavy over my waist, and the blanket covers us in a warm cocoon that I don’t want to disturb.
Sharing stories has left me feeling like we never parted, and I found myself appreciating the respect and affection with which he spoke of Angel and his people. Instead of feeling jealous, I’m glad that he had a new makeshift family to help him through his return even if he did give them a bit of hell in the process. He’s always been good at that. He also confessed in not so many words that he didn’t currently have someone in his life.
I told him about Willow and Kennedy’s breakup, Xander’s complicated grief for Anya, and Dawn’s new Italian boyfriend who has no idea about the whole world of vampires, demons, slayers, and apocalypses. As usual, Spike was also more than understanding about my situation, especially my guilt about the unintended but quite negative consequences of our Sunnydale plan to turn all potential slayers into actual ones.
The only light in the room is the dim light from the frost-coated windows. Then, something niggles in the back of my mind. I grasp onto the thought. I almost forgot it was Christmas! Straight from my childhood, a feeling of excitement comes over me, and I delicately disentangle myself from Spike’s arms and tiptoe to retrieve my evergreen.
On my way, I spy my suitcase and decide that I need to brush my teeth and freshen up. I reach into my open luggage and retrieve the toiletries bag and fresh clothing. As my hand lands on my red flannel shirt, I hear a crinkle sound like paper. Unfolding the top, I discover a small object wrapped in emerald green wrapping paper. In the low light, I make out that it’s a present from Dawn. Happiness spreads through me. First, she makes me pack warm clothes on my trip to Texas just in case, and then, she slips a Christmas gift in for me. Luckily, she’ll have presents this morning, too, even though I can’t be in Rome with her and Giles.
Setting the package under my small tree, I hurry into the bathroom to clean up. I slip on jeans and the blouse, sweep my long hair into a low bun, wash my face, and brush my teeth in record time. Then, I pick up the Christmas tree and bring it and my present back into the living area.
Treading softly, I see that Spike is still lost to the world of dreams, one arm now over his head and the blanket askew. His features are soft and youthful. . . at peace, and I can’t help but watch him for several seconds before moving to set up the Christmas decoration on the end table. The light from the small bulbs illuminates the world we are living in, and I ease down onto the sofa. I long to trace his cheek with my fingertips, but I don’t want to wake him that way, and my emotions are tugging at my heart to do something else instead.
Bending slowly, I take a deep breath, close my eyes and lightly press my lips to his cool ones. With a little intake of air, he wakes almost as soon as I make contact, and I falter, unsure what his reaction will be. He pushes his lips against mine, matching me but going no further. My heart is thunderous in my chest, and I take a risk, deepening the affection, and he follows me, clasping the back of my head and drawing me forward so that my hands are on either side of his chest. My body is alight with flashes of desire at his touch. . . desire that I haven’t felt with him since before he earned his soul back.
A little frightened at my boldness, I gently retreat and nudge my forehead into his, keeping my lids shut tight. “Hi.”
“Hey, yourself. What was that for?” His voice is low and laden with emotion.
“It was a thank you for last night.”
“I remember the last time you thanked me with a kiss.” He’s, of course, referring to our first real kiss after he didn’t give Dawn away to Glory.
“Me, too.” I pause and then, “This was more real.” I hope he recognizes that I meant the kiss then, too, but that now, my affection carries more weight to me after everything we’ve been through together and apart.
He doesn’t say anything for a moment. . . a long moment during which my heart, beating with such treacherous loudness, almost gives up. Then, I feel his hand cupping my cheek, and he’s kissing me again but much more deeply, infusing his message into his ministrations. I move up on my palms, and his hands move to my waist, his fingers finding my bare skin under the flannel.
This time, he stops and notices, “You changed.”
I grin, my hair now loose around us. “I did.”
He tries to turn his head to peer around the room. “And what’s with the little glowing lights?”
“Christmas tree. Bought it in the Denver airport. It was the last one; I had to duke it out with this lady who tried to snatch it out of my hands. Apparently, miniature Christmas trees are a hot commodity in the airport on Christmas Eve.”
He pushes up, not letting go of me and finds the Charlie-Brown-esque tree. “You almost got in a fight over *that* thing?”
I shrug. “It’s Christmas. I was feeling desperate for some festive decor since I was stuck in Colorado instead of flying back to Rome.”
“Where was it last night?”
I nod in the direction of the bedroom. “In there. Brought it in here because, well, I didn’t have mistletoe.”
He laughs and gives me another light kiss. “Looks like you have a present.”
He reaches back and passes me the package. “Open it.”
I lean my head against his shoulder as I peel away the wrapping to reveal a small round tin with a hand-painted picture of Babbo Natale filling shoes with trinkets. Dawn must have found it in one of the shops in Rome. I unscrew the lid to reveal a single folded piece of paper.
I unfold and read her message to myself, my eyes widening at her words.
“What does it say, pet?” Spike can’t hide his curiosity.
I hand him the note. “Read it.”
Taking the proffered paper, he quickly reads Dawn’s note aloud, both eyebrows lifting as he absorbs the meaning of the words, “Dear Buffy, Merry Christmas. Tell Spike that I forgive him and hope to see him in Rome soon. Enjoy your time together, and please don’t be mad. Love, Dawn.”
I cross my arms. “Read the postscript. . . on the back.”
Spike flips the paper over. “P.S. Andrew says to tell Spike to open the package he gave him for Gabrielle. . . . What the hell?”
“This whole thing is a setup!” I stand to my feet, temper blazing. “What kind of game are they playing?! Dawn is in big trouble!” I pace a little and realize, “That’s why she insisted on the coat and the boots! And now *I* want to throttle Andrew!”
My eyes widen as the realizations hit me. “They already had Gabrielle safe in Cleveland and sent us here to. . . here to. . . what?”
Spike strides past me and obtains the box from the corner where I stashed it yesterday. Propping it on the back of the sofa, he pulls up the sealed flaps and starts pulling out tissue paper and packages wrapped very sloppily in garish greens and reds. “What’s this?”
I can’t help myself and giggle when I see little elves printed on some of the presents. “Clearly Andrew wrapped these.” I hold up a large, lumpy looking gift. “I mean, only a guy would wrap presents like this.”
“Hey! Watch the stereotypes!” Spike protests, trying to grasp onto my humor at the situation.
“And obviously, they’re trying to set us up. . . to be together.” I rip open the package to prove my point. A bunch of silver-foil packets fall all over the sofa. I pick up one. It’s a bit squishy in my hand. I make a face. “I don’t get it.”
Spike snatches the packet out of my hand. “I know what this is. Space food. Read the labels.”
I squint at another one of the packages and notice tiny print over the bar code. “Cornbread dressing?”
Spike reads his, “Turkey tetrazzini.”
I spy a piece of white paper amidst the pile on the cushion. I read it to myself and then explain to Spike, “Andrew somehow has a friend who works for NASA, and he’s giving us Christmas dinner in the form of space food?”
Spike snorts. “Where’d he think we were going. . . outer space?”
I laugh again. “It’s so cold out there, it might as well be.”
Together, Spike and I open up the rest of the presents. Wrapping paper litters the floor, and Spike and I step back to survey the loot. There’s hot chocolate, the good kind that’s made of real flakes of chocolate, and a bag of little marshmallows. Spike identifies the thin silver thing as a space blanket, which he knows because Andrew lined Spike’s clothing with similar material before he drove out here. Apparently, vampires don’t do cold and snow very well. A white rectangular device with a screen and small wheel looks like one of the new iPod things that plays music. Dawn has been coveting one. There’s also a speaker stand of some sort that looks like it’s for the iPod. And oddly enough, there is a Ziploc baggie with a large carrot and Oreos.
“Well, I can appreciate the hot chocolate and marshmallows,” Spike comments, his arms across his chest and one hand in the air in a thoughtful gesture.
“Andrew is *so* weird.”
“Maybe Dawn helped plan the gifts, too?” He waves at the carrot and Oreos. “I mean, stuff for making a snowman doesn’t exactly seem like something the whelp would think up.”
“You’re right, she always wanted to play in the snow when we were kids. She had so much fun the one time it d. . . .” I suddenly think of something and start searching the room.
“What are you looking for?” Spike asks with mirth in his tone.
“My phone!” I bend at the waist and find my target on the floor, partially hidden near the coat rack. I flip open the device and frown. “Still no bars. I was going to call Dawn.”
“To wish her Merry Christmas?”
“No, to fuss at her! She had to really plot to make this happen. . . like for a long time!” I unsuccessfully blow a strand of hair out of my eye and then push it back with my free hand. I continue to stare at the phone’s tiny screen and try to will the little device to pick up a signal. “Grrr. The least Andrew could do with all his love of technology is send us something so we could communicate with the outside world.”
Spike rounds the sofa and slips his hand into mine. His voice is soft and his words carry a double meaning, “What if we made the most of our time here?” He hesitates but continues, “What if we had a clean slate for the day and just saw where it took us?”
“A clean slate as in tabula rasa?” Do you mean all the times we hurt each other and miscommunicated wiped away? I meet his gaze and realize that the answer to my unspoken question is decidedly yes. “O-okay.”
He clasps my hand. “I know it won’t mean that things between us haven’t happened the way that they did. I’m not trying to deny them at all. I just want this. . . this moment.”
“Maybe our relationship is more complicated than I thought.” The sadness in his eyes isn’t the same hurt that I always used to see in the past. Not physically disconnecting from him, I stand on my tiptoes and kiss him on the lips, trying to wipe away his unhappiness. “I want this moment, too.”
* * *
Although the snow has stopped falling, the sky is solid grey enough that Spike can venture outside to build a snowman with me without chancing that he will burst into flames. I also made sure we both bundled up before we went out. We definitely don’t need any frostbite.
“So how are we going to do this?” Spike takes in the white all around us.
I can’t help but be blown away at the breathtaking view in the dim light of day. “It’s beautiful. . . all untouched and non-slushy.” Not like the snow we got in L.A. that one time. It almost immediately melted and made everything muddy.
Here in Colorado, the snow coats the ground in all directions as far as the eye can see, weighing down tree branches, and covering roads and the normal traces of mankind’s mark on the Earth. As is becoming quite the habit, I find Spike’s gloved hand with my own. He squeezes back. A feeling of peace comes over me followed by a burst of childlike energy.
Dropping the bag with the carrot and Oreos, I let go of Spike’s hand and race forward, my feet sinking into the soft stuff and hindering my movements. “Let’s get started,” I can’t help but sound commander-y.
“You ever made a snowman before, pet?” I feel Spike’s gentle gaze on me as I turn back to find him.
“Nope!” I start packing the ice together against the layers of snow. My nose itches, and I rub it with the back of my glove. “Come on!”
In companionable silence, we scrape together enough snow to make a decent-sized base, a misshapen middle body portion, and a lumpy-looking head.
I step back and study the product of our efforts with my hands on my hips. Spike has worked diligently beside me, but I think he’s found the whole exercise more humorous than anything else.
“I think he looks good,” I comment. Our snowman needs arms though. I scan the ground. Darn snow everywhere!
“Looking for arms?”
I grin at him. “How did you know?”
He grins back, eyes alight at my happiness. “Any self-respecting snowman needs good arms.” As he heads toward the wood pile and digs around among the logs, I think about how Dana chopped off his arms. I shudder and want to hold him close.
Moments later, he proudly produces two more slender branches with little pieces sticking off.
“Those are perfect!” I call as he approaches.
Spike hands me one, and we jam them into the mid-section of our snowman. Then, Spike unzips the bag and hands me the carrot. “Do the honors.”
He holds the back of the head as I ease the carrot into the more delicate sphere. Then, we attach the Oreos for eyes and mouth.
Spike watches with a thoughtful expression on his face. Then, he snaps off four small twigs from the arms and arranges them under two of the Oreos.
“Fangs. Nice,” I comment.
Spike smirks. “Thought he could use some. After all, snowmen are kind of like vampires.”
I cross my arms and give him a look of consternation. “In what way?”
“They’re not very fond of the sun.”
“What? It’s true.”
I sigh happily. “We did it! My first snowman.” I’m surprisingly giddy and proud of our creation. “In honor of Dawn.”
“Glad to be a part of it.”
I slip my arm around his waist. “Thanks.”
He hugs my shoulders. “Only for you and because the Nibblet obviously wanted us to do this. But if you tell anyone about me building a snowman. . .”
“Hey!” I shove him playfully.
Raising one eyebrow, he bends and scoops up a bit of snow to fling at my head.
I shriek and imitate him, quickly packing a little more snow into my ball before pelting it at him.
We are soon in an all out war with our snowman as the only witness. Snow flies everywhere until we’re covered in white ice and laughing. I can’t feel my hands and feet again, and my nose is running, but Spike kisses me anyway, deep and long. When the kiss ends, I feel lightheaded, and my quivering has way more to do with desire than the frozen temperature.
“Have to go in now, love. It’s getting a bit nippy even with the space gear.” His blue eyes won’t leave mine, and I can tell he thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the world even though I’m sure I look like crap.
Back inside the warm cabin, Spike showers after our great snowman debacle, and I pick up my phone on a whim and briefly go outside to snap a photo of our snowman. I hurry back in, taking wood with me to reset the fireplace.
Dressed in fresh clothing, Spike comes out of the bathroom as I’m arranging the logs. He leans over to kiss my shoulder. Then, he squats next to me.
Running his hand over mine, he says, “Let me. You go shower.”
“Okay.” I briefly touch his cheek, and hurry to answer the beckoning call of the steamy water.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/527772.html