In time with weaving in and out of Restfield’s gravestones, Buffy hummed a jaunty Christmas tune. True, she was supposed to be on the lookout for evil, yet her mind was occupied with her other plans for the evening—partaking in the Summers’ time-honored traditions of Christmas music, decorating the tree, and It’s a Wonderful Life movie marathon.
With all the craziness since Thanksgiving, and not to mention the Christmases of years past, she was so looking forward to a quiet and normal evening at home with her mom.
Eager to start the festivities and with the cemetery being relatively quiet, Buffy decided to call it a night. Well, that was her plan until she rounded a nearby crypt and what she saw there, immediately stopped her dead in her tracks.
Even though Christmas was still yet a few days away, it appeared she was getting an early present—a gift-wrapped Spike, gagged and bound to a headstone with lengths of silver garland.
“Thank you, Santa! It’s what I always wanted!”
Grinning from ear to ear, Buffy basked in the silence while taking it all in. When her conscience got the better of her, she finally pulled the green gag from his mouth.
“’Bout bleedin’ time, Slayer!” Spike struggled briefly, giving up when nary a silver length loosened.
“Look here Bumble, you better quit your complaining or I’ll leave you just the way I found you and head on home. Are we clear?”
“Crystal,” Spike seethed through clenched teeth.
“By the way, why aren’t you at Xander’s?” Buffy folded her arms across her chest, eyes narrowed in suspicion.
“Relax Slayer. Blighter doesn’t know ‘m out and about. Just needed a bit of fresh air, s’all.”
“Spike, need I remind you, you don’t need air. Fresh or otherwise.”
“Yeah, and a good thing too, ‘cause the whelp’s place reeks of stale cheese, feet and sex. Not to mention the pungent stench of cat piss every time he uses the hotplate.”
Scrunching up her nose in disgust and internally la-la-la-ing away the reasons behind each of those smells, Buffy eyed the intricate weaving of garland around Spike’s body, trying to figure out the best place to start. Unable to find a weak spot or starting point, she decided to just grab a handful and pull.
“Easy, Slayer! This prezzie’s fragile!”
“Yeah, right, fragile my ass. Unfortunately, unlike all the other vamps around here, you’re built like a Timex.”
Buffy, ever determined to get Spike loose so she could continue on with her evening, ignored his protest, and yanked again, harder. This time it earned her an unmanly yelp. Suppressing a gratified smile, she tugged for a third time, really putting her back into it. Yet this time, she didn’t get the reaction she expected.
“That’s it, baby. Give me a lickin’. Keep me tickin’.”
Spike’s heavy innuendo quickly changed the typical annoyance she felt around him into an unexpected swell of lust that left her utterly speechless. Unwittingly, her gaze dropped and focused on his mouth just in time to witness his tongue, the same one that had tantalizingly trailed along her throat only weeks before, curl behind his teeth.
Instantly, the flood gates opened and all the repressed memories from their short betrothal rushed out. Buffy felt her body responding, but before these very wrong feelings took complete control, she summoned the one feeling she was far more comfortable with when dealing with Spike—anger.
“That’s it! I’m done trying to help you out! There are twinkling lights and cups of yummy eggnog goodness waiting for me with someone I actually like. Good bye, Spike.”
Ignoring his string of curses and empty threats, Buffy headed in the opposite direction. She was half way through Restfield when a strange noise drew her attention. Instinctually, she stopped and listened, her stake poised at the ready.
“Hey, check her out! Definitely mistletoe belt worthy!” Buffy’s head turned, following the gruff voice coming from the left.
“Hot Damn! I’d really like to stuff her stocking!” This time, the crude remark came from her right.
On and on went the comments and catcalls. It wasn’t long before Buffy had enough, but since these pervs hadn’t really done anything except annoy, she started walking away until she felt a sharp goose to her backside.
Buffy rubbed the offended spot on her right butt cheek. She spun to face her attacker, but only met with air and in the process, opened herself up to another strike, now to her left.
“Knock it off!”
Dropping into a fighter’s stance in anticipation of another butt grab, Buffy tried to determine where the next attack would come from. Noticing out of the corner of her eye a flash of green coming her way, Buffy mule-kicked the would-be pincher and turned to watch him landing hard a few feet away.
Buffy approached her attacker sprawled on the grass. For all intents and purposes he looked like a man, except he was far smaller. Yet that wasn’t what caught her attention. Not like the pointy ears sticking out from either side of his green hat.
“You’ve gotta be kiddi—oomph.”
Buffy was cut off mid-sentence when she was jumped by three little men—one wrapping around each leg as the third leapt on her back. While Buffy flailed and bucked trying to shake off the tiny assailants, she accidently dropped her stake.
“You’re going down, bitch!” The one imitating a backpack growled in her ear.
Even for being bite sized, they were surprisingly strong. With her earlier annoyance now becoming an actual threat, she went to work. Starting with Mr. Potty Mouth, Buffy leaned forward and launched him over her head before kicking her legs in succession, dislodging the other two. Once freed, she ran back in Spike’s direction, hearing her little foes’ threats and the pitter-patter of their little feet fading off in the distance.
“Needed another touch, did ya?”
Skidding to a stop and ignoring Spike’s crude comment and stupid smirk, Buffy used all her strength as she yanked on the garland.
“Puh-leese, I’d rather be subjected to a hundred tiny wrapping paper paper-cuts than willingly ever touch you again. Unfortunately, I have four pissed off mighty mites after me, and strangely I trust you slightly more.”
Working in tandem, they freed Spike from the garland. Spike nodded his thanks and, in spite of his recent predicament, started nonchalantly patting down his pockets before pulling out a crumpled pack of cigarettes.
“Are you like totally brain dead? We don’t have time to pollute my air! They’re coming!” Buffy batted away his cigarettes and stomped on them for good measure.
“Oi! That was my last pack! What’s got your knickers in a twist now?”
“I’ll have you know, my knickers, whatever the hell those are, are not twisted! Plus what I was saying before you so rudely interrupted—” Buffy stopped short when Spike growled deeply and eyes flashed gold.
“Slayer, why didn’t you say you ran into the same buggers that strung me up like a Christmas fir?”
Buffy followed his line of vision to the four little men she encountered earlier all lined up in a row.
Strangely, even after everything, they still looked kinda cute dressed head to toe in green, complete with a pointy hat; candy cane stripped stockings and belled shoes.
“Are they—” Buffy faced Spike, gesturing in the little men’s direction.
“Yeah, sweet nips, we’re elves. Santa’s elves to be exact, and after a thousand years of working for that fat assed, glory-hound, we decided to strike out on our own. And what better place to set up shop than on the Hellmouth?”
Buffy recognized the elf speaking as the one who was wrapped around her right leg. She watched the other three elves nod their agreement to Mr. Leg Warmer.
“Well, sorry to burst your tiny bubble, Hermey, but as your resident Slayer, I have a big say in that. And after the crap you pulled, well, not with Spike ‘cause let’s face it, that was perfect but with all the other stuff, I’m majorly vetoing that plan.”
Ignoring Buffy, another elf, the one who she must’ve mule-kicked since he sported a bloody lip and a swollen left eye, turned toward the others.
“She’s a Slayer? I thought they were made up?”
“What? You thought I wasn’t real? Elves, the same little guys who hang out with Santa and flying reindeer think I’m make-believe? Unbelievable! Next you’ll be telling me the tooth fairy is real.”
Buffy started pacing, arms flailing as she ranted, only to be stopped mid-stride by Spike’s correction.
“Actually, Slayer, she is. Not all pixie dust and smiles like in the tales. She’s a nasty bitch with talons and, a shrill that’ll blow your bleedin’ drums out.”
“Fine, we’re all real. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is my town, and I call the shots.”
Buffy struck her no-nonsense pose while eyeing the elves. Not that it mattered because they were totally ignoring her while the one glued to her back earlier, addressed Spike.
“Hey blood breath, is your girlfriend always this bitchy? Yeah, sure, she’s really sweet on the eyes. But man, if you have to put up with all that shit before she lets you dash through her snow, I’d rather be sledding solo. Know what I’m sayin’?”
In chorus, both Buffy and Spike objected. Strangely, Buffy felt a slight hint of hurt from Spike’s indignant protest. Yet before letting herself go there, she turned her attention back on the elves. By this point, Buffy was really finding these guys a lot less cute and far more slay-worthy.
“Listen here Santa’s little rejects, I’ll give you guys one last chance to pack up your bag of toys and head back to the North—”
Stunned by the unexpected turn of events, Buffy watched the four elves convulse briefly before falling to the ground. In an instant, a dozen of elves dressed head to toe in black ops wear swarmed the area. While several elves dragged off the four downed naughty elves into the shadows, the remaining trained their tiny weapons on both she and Spike.
“Good job. Stand down, soldiers.” A deep baritone voice called from the shadows before the owner of said voice stepped out into the moonlight.
Buffy’s eyes widened to almost cartoon-like proportions. Just like all the stories and songs, he was larger than life, dressed in a red suit with white fur trim that snuggly fit over his pronounced belly, and his eyes twinkled merrily as he smiled.
“Who else would you expect, Buffy Anne Summers, the Easter Bunny? Sorry that my elves caused a little Christmas mischief. But don’t you worry, once we get back to the North Pole, I’m thinking a century or two of shoveling out the reindeer stalls will change their attitudes. Don’t you agree?”
Hearing Santa’s hearty laughter and watching his belly shake like a bowl full of jelly instantly triggered hers and strangely, a rare smile from Spike.
“So you’re a Slayer? To be honest, I’ve always thought you ladies were just a parable to keep naughty faes in line. Well, that explains a lot and somebody’s coming off the naughty list right now.”
With a flip of his wrist, Santa now held a long scroll in one hand and a quill pen in the other while a pair of reading glasses appeared at the end of his nose.
“Summers, Summers, ah, here you are.” With a flourish sweep of his pen, her name was stricken from the list. With another twist of his hand, the scroll, pen, and glasses disappeared in a shower of golden pixie dust.
“Now with that resolved, what do I have for Miss Summers—” Santa held out his hand and a helper elf handed him a seemingly empty, red velvet bag. With a wink, Santa reached inside, pulled out a box and handed it to Buffy.
Taking the gift, Buffy turned over the retro-looking box and peered into the cellophane window eyeing the pose able doll with recognizable wedge haircut and skates.
“You remembered? I can’t believe you remembered.”
Awe-struck, Buffy tightly hugged the box containing a Dorothy Hamill doll to her chest, the recognizable sound of crumpling cardboard and cellophane filling the air. With misty eyes, she noticed Santa’s smile and returned one in kind.
“Well, it’s time to head back. Lots of things to do before the big day.” Santa gave a wink and turned. After a several steps, he spun back around and reached into his bag again. “Oh, before I forget. William, I’ve had this present for you for a while, and since you’ve been behaving as of late—”
While Buffy remained where she was and still hugging her gift, Spike hesitantly stepped forward and took the offering. Then with a nod and smile, in a flash Santa was gone. After several moments, Buffy approached Spike, who seemed frozen on the spot.
“So what did the big guy give you?” Buffy glanced down at the leather-bound book he held in both hands.
“It’s nothing, Slayer.”
Disregarding his dismissal, she shifted her box under her left arm and grabbed the book from his hands. As she stepped out of his reach, she turned to the section bookmarked. After scanning the poem titled First Love, she looked up at Spike.
“Um, it’s a collection of John Clare’s poems. That’s my favorite.”
Spike looked at the ground, appearing interested in studying his shifting feet. If Buffy didn’t know any better, he looked sheepish, almost bashful. Totally not a look she was accustomed to seeing on Spike.
“Well, William, it looks like someone else was taken off the naughty list tonight.”
Spike’s gaze snapped from his feet, the look of shyness replaced by a scowl as he snatched the book from her hands.
“Take that back! I’m evil! I don’t know what it takes to get through your thick skull—” Buffy raised a single brow in a yeah, whateverarch. Spike huffed loudly before adding, “If you say one word, Slayer, even one little peep about this, the doll gets it.”
Eyes widened in horror, Buffy shifted and protectively clutched her beloved gift to her chest. Despite how tempting letting everyone know that the Big Bad liked poetry, she relented.
Buffy stuck out her hand. Spike looked at her with suspicion before spitting into his palm, taking her hand, and shaking hard three times then releasing her with a smirk.
“Eww—I don’t believe you just did that!” Buffy tried shaking off his ‘cooties’ by rubbing her palm repeatedly against her outer thigh.
“The only thing that binds more in an agreement is blood. So unless you’re offering up a pint—”
“Not even if that earns me a life-time top position on Santa’s nice list, bleach boy.” The silence stretched between them before Buffy added, “Well, I’ve gotta go, big plans and you be better heading back to Xander’s before he realizes your gone.”
Buffy turned and started walking away. When she turned back, she noticed Spike was where she had left him, staring at the book in his hands.
“Um, Spike.” He looked up and what she was planning to say was all but lost from the awed expression he wore.
“Yeah, Slayer, Merry Christmas to you too.” With that being said, Spike turned and headed towards Xander’s.
With a soft smile, Buffy watched Spike disappear into the shadows before heading home. This time as she weaved in and out of the headstones, her humming was replaced by off-key singing.
“He's making a list and checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…”
Bumble and Hermey: “The Abominable Snow Monster of the North (a.k.a. Bumble) - A large, ferocious yeti who is the main antagonist. He pursues Hermey and Rudolph throughout their adventure. The sight of Rudolph's glowing red nose drives Bumble into a rage. Sam the Snowman also explains that the monster hates everything to do with Christmas. Later, the Abominable Snow Monster captures Rudolph and his family at his cave. Yukon and Hermey come to the rescue by knocking the monster unconscious and extracting all his teeth. Near the end of the film he has a change of heart, and he is seen putting the star on top of the Christmas tree and becoming a part of Christmastown.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer_(TV_special)
Timex’s slogan: “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
John Clare: 1793-1864 http://www.poetseers.org/the-great-poets/english-poets/john-clare/
I ne’er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
My face turned pale, a deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked what could I ail
My life and all seemed turned to clay.
And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.
I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start.
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.
Are flowers the winter’s choice
Is love’s bed always snow
She seemed to hear my silent voice
Not love appeals to know.
I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling place
And can return no more.
- John Clare
Santa Claus is Coming to Town: http://lyrics.filestube.com/song/1dff1f363322d39303e9,Santa-Claus-Is-Coming-to-Town.html