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slaymesoftly [userpic]
by slaymesoftly (slaymesoftly)
at December 30th, 2013 (10:11 pm)

So, if I understood Sue correctly, there is a free-for-all period from now till the end of the year. I've got a list of links to my previous year's holiday fics, as well as hiding this year's fic under the cut.

Christmas fics (by season and year written)

Pre series: (oops! That one was Gethan - I deleted it)

Christmas Through the Seasons (2010) Alternating Spike/Buffy pov from before the beginning through the end

Season Six:
A Very Spuffy Christmas (2005)

And You Don’t Even Need to Wrap It/Merry Christmas, Spike (2010)

Christmas Berries (2012) here


Best Bloody Christmas Ever (2012) (comics verse- more or less) here

Five Gold Rings (2006) - Post NFA

Ready to Unwrap (2007) several years post NFA

New Year – New Memories 2011 (comics verse - AU)

A Bumpy Christmas (Bumpverse) (2008) Sequel to Things That Go Bump

Merry Christmas, Baby. (I’m coming home) Beautiful banner by OKDeanna. 2013

 photo slaymesoftly_merryxmasbaby.jpg

Merry Christmas, Baby (I'm Coming home)

Dawn put finishing touches on the cookies as she asked with studied casualness, “No word yet?”

“Why would there be word? I’m busy. Spike’s probably busy. Doing... whatever he does when he isn’t here – like not calling to tell me he’s alive. It’s what he does. It doesn’t mean anything.”


“If you’re about to remind me that if Spike was in that crashed ship there would be no way to tell because he won’t leave a body.... just don’t. ‘K? He’s not dead. He can’t be. He’s just being a butthead... again.”

Dawn rolled her eyes and sighed. “I hope you’re right. It’s not like I want him to have burnt up with the ship, but it seems like by now....”

“Dawn, if he somehow got out before it crashed, he’s still got to find a way back to civilization – across an ocean, where there’s no shade....” She shuddered, then straightened and threw her shoulders back and her chin out. “It would have to take him a while to get back here. Wouldn’t it?”

Dawn sighed again at the barely suppressed hope in Buffy’s voice. She walked over and hugged her shorter sister. “It would take him a while. Maybe a long time if he has to hide from the sun every day. I’m sure he’s on his way back.”

“Of course he is,” Buffy agreed. “He’s just taking his own sweet time about it.”

They were temporarily silent as each tried not to think the unthinkable. Dawn recovered first and gave a little shake to snap herself out of depressing thoughts.

“So, change of subject. Are you going out with Dowling again tonight?”

“I’m not ‘going out’ with him. We’re just looking for zompires together.”

“Right. Just patrolling buddies. Like you and Spike used to be.”

“Trust me. This is nothing like Spike and I used to be... and stop snorting and rolling your eyes! That’s not what I meant!”

“The hell it isn’t.” Dawn was making no attempt to hide her laughter. “You know, finding out about you and Spike way back when went a long way to explaining... things.”

“Things? There were things?”

“Did you think I was blind and deaf? Yeah, things. Like why you stayed out so late, why you disappeared in the daytime for hours at a time, why you were always so sleepy, why you came home in different clothes than you left in.... You know – things.” Dawn was grinning as she grabbed her coat and walked to the door. She waved as she pulled it open and left the small apartment.

“Smart ass!” Buffy shouted at the closing door. “She thinks she’s so smart,” she muttered as she gathered her stakes.


“That was a good night’s work, Buffy.” Dowling smiled at her as she brushed the dust from her clothes. “Can I buy you a drink before you go home?”

Buffy cast an uncomfortable look around before giving herself a mental shake and smiling back at him. “Sound good. I’ve got a lot of zompire dust in my throat.”

“We got them all, didn’t we?”

“Yes, why?” She tensed and glanced around again. “Did you see something?”

“No,” he said, giving her a small nudge toward his car. “But you were looking around like you thought you felt something... I thought maybe it was another zompire.” He shook his head. “I guess it was just....”

He opened the door for her, then walked around to the driver’s side without completing his sentence.

“Just what?” Buffy waited for him to get seated and turn on the engine before pursuing the conversation. He shook his head again.

“Nothing. Doesn’t matter. There was nothing there.”

“We established that. So what was it ‘just’?”

“Nothing. Forget it. I have.” He didn’t speak again until they pulled into a parking place and he turned the car off. “Here we are.”

Buffy followed him into the small bar, giving one last glance over her shoulder when she thought she felt a vampire tingle, then shrugged. The door closing behind her effectively destroyed any chance of her being sure of what she felt.

“You okay?” Dowling frowned at her.

“I’m fine. Thought I might have felt a vamp – a regular vamp – but then I decided I’m off duty and if there was one, it would be somebody else’s problem. I’m not the only slayer in the world now.”


Two beers later, and Buffy was feeling nicely relaxed. It was fun, this going out for a drink after a night spent slaying. She smiled to herself. Maybe Christmas wasn’t going to suck after all.

“Penny for your apparently happy thoughts?”

She laughed and tilted her beer bottle at him. “I was just thinking how nice this is. I think I’m beginning to see why guys go out for beer after a day of work. It really is relaxing.”

“Guys go out for beer.” He smiled back at her, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “Is that what we are? Guys having a beer after work?”

“Well, sort of... I mean, you’re a guy, and I’m a... okay losing the theme here, but you know what I meant. We’re co-workers, kicking back after a good night’s work.” She frowned at the table before glancing up at him apologetically. “That would probably be less disturbing if our work wasn’t killing things...”

He shrugged. “Wouldn’t have been my first choice of a career path, but I guess it is yours.”

“Believe me,” she said, taking another swallow, “it wasn’t my ‘choice’ either. But I made my peace with it a long time ago. And as it turned out, I’m dammed good at it. Sometimes it almost feels like fun.” She gave him a wry smile. “That’s probably one of those things I shouldn’t say out loud, huh?” He nodded his agreement and tipped his own bottle at her in salute.

“I guess it’s hard to find other people who can spend an evening killing things and not be a little freaked out by it. Do you know anybody else like that? Who actually enjoys it? Other slayers maybe?”

“Just Spike,” she replied without thinking. One look at Dowling’s face told her that wasn’t a name he’d wanted to hear. “But he’s a, you know, vampire, so kinda goes with the package.”

He nodded. “I suppose it does.” He set his empty bottle down, shaking his head at the waitress when she raised an eyebrow in question. “Have you heard from him?”

She narrowed her eyes. “You’re as bad as Dawn.” Without explaining that comment, she emptied her own bottle and set it down. “No. I haven’t heard from him. I have no idea if he was in that ship when it crashed, and if he was, if he survived it. I won’t know until he shows up again. Which I guess he will, eventually, if he’s not—” Without finishing her sentence, she slid out of the booth and stood up, her festive mood completely spoiled. “I should probably get home. Got to get up and sling coffee at people tomorrow.”

“I’ll take you home. It’s late and you’re tired.” He held up his hand when she started to protest. “And it’s damp and cold out there.”

As they left the bar, Buffy cast her eyes around again in a way that had become more of a habit than she realized. Once again, she thought she felt a vampire, but it vanished almost as soon as she felt it. Dowling shook his head as he opened her door.


“You did it again.”

“Did what again? Is this what you meant by ‘just...’”

“I meant, it was just your usual scanning the area for Spike,” he said as he closed the door on her shocked expression. When he’d walked around and entered his own side, he continued as if he’d never paused. “You never stop looking for him. It’s enough to give a man a complex....”

Buffy had no response, and they rode the short distance to her apartment in silence. He pulled up in front of her building and waited for her get out. Buffy hesitated, then turned to look at him.

“This wasn’t just co-workers having a beer, was it?”

“No, this was me asking a beautiful woman out for a drink. Sorry I didn’t make that clearer.”

“No. It’s my fault. My social skills suck. I’m sorry. It really was a nice idea, and I had a good time. I... maybe we could do it again? I promise not to be so oblivious next time—” She schooled her expression not to change as her vampire senses went into overload. “Or, you know, maybe not, if you’d rather not. I’m okay with that too.” She struggled to hide her sudden eagerness to be out of the car.

He heaved a sigh and smiled at her. “I’m guessing you’re probably worth how hard I’m going to have to work to make you stop scanning the rooftops for that vampire. But I’m here and he isn’t, and I’m a patient man. Goodnight, Buffy.”

“Goodnight. And thanks again.” She let herself out and stood watching while he drove away. The tingle that had been getting steadily stronger told her there was a vampire in very close proximity.

“Are you going to come out, or just spy on me all night?”

“Didn’t want to interrupt anything, Slayer. Don’t think the good detective would have been very happy to see me.”

“Since when do you care if seeing you would make somebody happy?”

“Don’t want to be spoiling anything for you, Buffy. Grown up a bit too much in past few years for that sort of pettiness.”

Well aware that he was now standing right behind her, she spun around. “Who are you and what have you done with my—with Spike?”

There was an awkward silence as they both wondered what she’d almost said. When it had become such a long silence that there was no going back from it, Buffy stepped forward and gave him a platonic, if heartfelt and lengthy, hug.

“I’m glad you’re back. When we heard about the ship—”

“I’m sorry,” he interrupted, raising his hand to stroke her cheek as she stepped back. “Never meant to... worry... you like that ever again, but it took a while to work my way ho—back to the US of A. And a bit longer to find you. Seems you’re no longer sharing an apartment.”

“No. I moved out. We’re still friends, but living with a slayer was freaking them out. What I have isn’t much, but I can afford it.” She waved her hand at the building behind him.

“Gives you a bit of privacy too, doesn’t it? Having a place of your own, I mean. You’ve always had someone else around.”

She nodded. “There’s that. It’s kind of nice most of the time, but I’m still getting used to it. The wreath on the door is about all I’ve done in the way of Christmas.”

Conversation seemingly exhausted, they stared awkwardly at each other until Buffy broke the tension.

“So, no more space ship?”

“Nope. Ship is gone... Bloody shame, that is, and Sebastian with it....”


“He was... you know what? You didn’t know him and you didn’t want to – so don’t worry about it. He was just a bug.”

Buffy blinked. Was Spike... sad? Over a bug?

“I remember him,” she said, resting a sympathetic hand on his arm. “I’m sorry.”

He nodded silent acknowledgement but didn’t reply.

“Are you sorry you’re not still living with bugs?”

“Not sorry, pet. Not really. Just a bit at loose ends.” He shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. Life goes on. Point is, I’m back. Only thing to do now is figure out what I’m back to.”

He didn’t look at her as he spoke, but she could see the tension in his body. Could he really be that stupid?


Buffy’s less than eloquent response had him nodding his head as if it was what he’d expected. “Been living on that ship a long time, haven’t I? Now I’m back to where I have to hide from the sun and I need a place to live.” He waited, but when she still didn’t say anything, he lifted his head and tilted it to meet her gaze. “Want to come along while I check out some crypts?”

“Ewww. And no.”

“Come on, Slayer. It’ll be like old times. You and me, a cemetery. Maybe you’ll get lucky... you know, get to slay something.”

She stared into his innocently blinking eyes, then narrowed her own.

“That’s not what ‘get lucky’ means.”

“Is if you’re you, isn’t it?”

“I already slayed my fill tonight.”

“Didn’t know you had a fill.” He nudged her arm as if unaware of her growing anger. “Seriously, pet, when was the last time you had a good fight that ending in some poor sap’s dust? Not with stark-raving mad freaks, but with a real vampire.”

“It could be any minute now...” She waved her stake at him. “What makes you think I want to wander around a cemetery with you tonight?” He seemed taken back by her vehemence, his own quick temper mounting to match hers.

“Fine. Was just trying to find myself a place to live and give you a little fun at the same time. If it doesn’t appeal, just say so.” When she continued to glare at him, he added, “I’ll let you know when I’ve got a permanent place to live. Meantime...” he pulled out a phone and dialed her number. “...here’s my new mobile, if you wa—need me for anything. See you around, Slayer.”

He’d walked half a block before she caught up with him. Wiping the relieved grin off his face, he turned just in time to keep her from plowing into his back. He grabbed her shoulders and held them until she stopped rocking on her feet, then let go.

“Changed your mind?” he asked, still wearing the most innocent and blank of expressions. “You probably know more about where the old graveyards are here anyway. Could help me find a likely place....”

“WHY are you looking for a crypt?”

“Still a vampire, luv. Where else would I live?”

She stared at him; then turned away. “Fine. If that’s how you want to play it. I’m not going to beg you to stay with me. Go find yourself a cozy little place full of spiders and dirt.” She began walking back toward her building, muttering to herself but knowing he could hear her, “Never mind that my apartment is in the basement and nice and dark in the daytime. Or that I got it just in case...” She stomped down the street, resisting the urge to turn around and watch his face as her words soaked in. She smiled to herself when his first tentative footsteps began to sound faster and closer. They were back in front of her building by the time he passed and then spun around to face her, walking backwards until she stopped.

“You got an underground apartment? Just in case...? In case what, Buffy?”

“In case you weren’t dead, you moron! Why do you think I got it? And then you have the nerve to act like—”

When they finally broke from the kiss Spike had used to interrupt her, she rested her head on his chest and sighed.

“You’re a complete idiot.”

“Guilty, love. Stupidest bloody git on the planet... or on any other planet. Forgive me?” He nuzzled the top of her head, breathing her in.

“Humph!” In spite of her less-than-reassuring response, she wrapped her arms around his waist and held him tightly. They stood, pressed together and letting their bodies say everything their pride prevented their words from expressing. With a final squeeze, Buffy released him and stepped away.

“Are you going to...?” She gestured in front of her as she turned and walked down the steps under the stoop to a door he hadn’t even noticed. She unlocked the door and walked in, looking back over her shoulder at him.

“Wild horses couldn’t keep me out,” he responded as he jumped down after her. He gave a rueful laugh when he bounced off the inviting opening. “But that can. I guess asking me if am stepping inside isn’t quite the same thing as asking me to do it.”

Buffy shook her head. “Sorry. It’s hard to remember you don’t have an entry to wherever I live. Come in, Spike.”

He stepped across the threshold swiftly, as if afraid she might change her mind. “That’s an interesting thought, pet.”

“What is?”

“That I have an invite to any place you live. Pretty much have had, haven’t I? Except for—”

“Except for when you tried to convince me you loved me by shocking me with a cattle prod and offering to kill Dru for me? Or feed me to her? I wasn’t really clear on that...”

“Have I mentioned ‘bloody, stupid git’?” He pulled her into a loose embrace.

“It bears repeating,” she sniffed, trying to hide her smile. “On the other hand, sometimes I’m not very smart either. I should know when you’re just pulling my chain to see if I really want you around. You’re so insecure...” She raised her chin. “But you’re always here when I need you.”

“Always will be, Buffy,” he said, pulling her closer. “As long as you’ll have me. However long that may be.”

“I think anything longer than a couple of years without one or the other of us dying or getting sent to another dimension would put us way ahead of where we are so far.”

“It probably would at that,” he agreed, leaning in to kiss the lips she was raising to meet his.


Some time later, when the reunion had been consummated numerous times in various positions, they rested together under a down comforter.

“Why didn’t you call me?” she asked, running a finger over his chest.

He sighed. “Really was trying my best to get back to you before you had time to worry. Wanted to be here well before the holidays. Then, when I got here and saw you out every night with the detective... I didn’t know where we stood. It’s not like when I left, I—”

“It’s not like you left me with any reason to think you’d be back,” she finished for him. “You weren’t planning to come back, were you?” Her steady gaze dared him to lie.

He sighed again and pulled her a bit closer. “Honestly, love? Was just trying to figure it out for myself. Needed to see if I could live without you. Knew I’d never stop loving you, but thought I might be able to move on and make a separate life for myself.”

“And how’d that work out for you?” she said, stiffening her body and trying to pull away.

“’Bout as well as any other plan I ever came up with where you’re concerned.”

“Oh.” She relaxed back against him. “So, I foiled your evil plans again?”

“That you did, love. I think you’re stuck with me. Do you fancy spending the holidays with a stupid git?”

She gave an unladylike snort. “If you don’t mind spending them with somebody who always waits until it’s too late to say what she’s feeling.”

“Which would be...” He buried his face in her neck, holding his breath as he waited for her answer.

“That I’m really, really glad you’re home,” she whispered, then took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I’m still not—”

“’Home’ works just fine for me, Buffy. You’ll always be my home – if you feel the same way, I don’t know what else I could ask for.”

“We both know what else you want to hear,” she said.

“Would give me the happiest Christmas of my life,” he said, smoothing one hand over her hair. “You know that. But don’t want you saying something that makes you uncomfortable.”

“It doesn’t make me uncomfortable... it’s just that the last—okay, first and only— time I said it to you, you didn’t believe me.”

“Believed you meant it right then in the moment. I did,” he repeated when she gave a skeptical snort. “But it wasn’t the right time or place for important romantic moments, was it? Needed to know you were going to be safe, not going down in flames with me. After....” He sighed and lowered his head to nuzzle her neck and hide his face. “Have we talked about what a stupid, inconsiderate git I am?”

“You left out insecure and cowardly.”

“Right. That too.”

“If I promise to work on telling you I love you when the world isn’t ending, will you promise to believe me and hold the thought until the next time you see me?”

“Cross my heart and hope to... something less drastic than turn to dust.”

“Welcome home, Spike,” she said, closing her eyes as she mumbled, “Merry Christmas.”

“That it is, love. That it is.”

The end