Rating: PG13 (for shocking language, also see warnings)
Word Count: 2270
Characters: Spike, Drusilla, and some beloved childhood friends from Rankin-Bass
Warnings: Ends up cracky, and contains violence against some beloved childhood friends from Rankin-Bass. Sorry.
Summary: During pre-series travels with Spike and Dru, they find themselves adrift, both literally and figuratively. A crossover with Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Really sorry.
Drusilla had been fractious and petulant for weeks: ever since they’d crossed into the Arctic Circle. Spike figured that the proximity to the magnetic pole was the problem, due to her delicate balance, though he wasn’t really sure. He’d been trying to get them moving south, but every circumstance conspired against them, and they’d somehow ended up stranded on Franz Josef Land at the height of winter. The darkness was the only consolation for the extreme desolation.
Dru kept going on about finding Rudolph, which Spike remembered was the northernmost island in the archipelago, though his memories of the place dated back to news accounts of the Graf Zeppelin expedition of ‘31. Spike didn’t really see the point of continuing to go north. It wasn’t as if they were likely to find any people there, this time of year. The difficulty of catching the little arctic squirrels was getting old, besides which they only gave up a mouthful of blood for all the trouble. Drusilla was starting to refuse them, head turned away like a child confronting cod liver oil. Long experience had taught him to listen to his princess when she got a bee in her bonnet this way, so on they trekked.
When Drusilla approached the bear cubs in much the same seductive way that she had with human children, Spike was hungry enough to be all for it. Those cubs were a veritable groaning board, compared with the squirrels. It hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea, right up until the moment mama had come along, summoned by Dru’s screams upon biting into the young one. Then, priorities switched, and the broken ice at the edge of the water beckoned like the life raft it was.
When they escaped on the handy ice floe, Spike couldn’t tell whether the bear would pursue them. Drusilla had enraged it by trifling with its cubs, and it was a near thing whether mama would stay with the surviving one, or take care of the threat. Spike knew there was nothing to keep the bear from diving in and tipping them off the floe, and didn’t much fancy his chances against it in the water. He didn’t much like his chances on land either, which was why he had initiated this tactical retreat. He heaved a great sigh of relief when the bear left off pacing the edge of the ice, hollering at them, and turned to tend to her remaining cub. He really didn’t like bears.
There were lots of good reasons for that: size, speed, stamina, teeth, claws. Taken all together, they added up to one of the only things on earth that made him feel inadequate. He’d take two Slayers and a Vauxhall beast over one angry polar bear. Which was no doubt why Drusilla had decided to rile one up. She was being a right bitch.
She settled down as soon as they started drifting, and was humming and arranging her skirts just so. As they floated along on the floe, Spike tried to block her out and instead admire the aurora rippling across the night sky. The bear’s roars still sounded occasionally, but were fading into the distance in a reassuring manner.
He wanted to make sure his princess stayed comfortable and amused, but she insisted on bollocksing up his every effort on her behalf these last weeks. When she wasn’t creating scenes on the common carriers which resulted in them being ejected in inconvenient places, she was wandering off. Ordinarily, neither the scenes nor the wandering troubled him much, but he couldn’t get a bead on her state of mind, and she wouldn’t fucking talk to him! She just kept going on about racing the moon, kings and elves, and baby birds swimming round and round. All of it was more nonsensical than usual, and when he asked his leading questions, which usually at least got a smile, she just repeated it all, like a phonograph record. Now he was floating along on a very uncomfortable iceberg, with no real prospects for anything better on the horizon. Literally.
She began keening, waking him from his drowse.
“Nearly there, Spike. Oh! I do hope they like their new mummy!” she exclaimed.
He lifted his head and saw that something big was looming through the mist. Drusilla tottered on the edge of the floe, and took a graceful leap off into the dark, just before their craft collided with an icy shore. The impact tumbled Spike across the floe and he was flung onto land.
“Mind the gap,” sang Dru, dancing lightly inland. Spike wished to everything unholy that he were back in the Underground, rather than wandering about the wilderness this way. He stood and brushed himself off, patting his pockets to take stock of his cigarette rations. Three left in an opened pack, only slightly bent, and one unopened, though blood stained, pack in reserve. Huffing a sigh, he lit up and trailed after Dru, shaking his head.
“How do you do?” he heard Dru say to someone, from over the next rise. “Show me your curtsey, dearie.” There was a pause before he heard her humming again, in a fairly tuneful way. “A sack full of joy,” she sing-songed.
“Sack full of something, all right,” muttered Spike, cresting the hill and looking out into a small depression, blanketed with icy snow. What he saw made no earthly sense. Drusilla lay on her belly on the ground, examining a bunch of trash, while a nattily dressed snowman peered out from behind the lone stunted tree. Weirdest of all, was an odd-looking little deer sniffing Dru’s arse while she chattered happily, entranced with the pile of jetsam.
“Look, Spike! A train for you, and a dolly for me!” She beckoned him over, waving a broken-down excuse for a child’s train.
“Dru, petal, they’re all ruined. See? Train doesn’t even have proper wheels.”
Dru looked at him with profound disappointment. “They called to me from across the sea, Spike.” She held out another toy to him.
“Fine jack-in-the-box, I’m sure, but …”
“Not Jack! Charlie,” she interrupted.
“Right then. Charlie. What are we doing here, Dru?”
“They’re all misfits,” she said. Like that explained anything.
“No argument there.” They stared at each other impassively. He broke first.
“You saying this rubbish is what’s kept us from our Christmas feast? Not impressed, darling. Though it’s been awhile since we’ve had venison,” he said, nodding at the little deer, which had the presence of mind to back away.
Dru shook her head. “Don’t you see? They are missing all the fun.”
“So are we,” he grumbled.
“We can’t leave them for the old elf. They belong with me, Spike. I’ll see that they are never lonely.”
“Even that poxy elephant?”
She giggled. “We’ll have such a party!” She caught up a pigtailed rag doll and tossed it in the air. Spike thought he noted a hint of worry in its flat black eyes. The stitched-on smile didn’t match up, somehow. Dru began talking to the doll, which made this whole mad situation seem almost normal.
She knelt and arranged all the toys around her, while Spike smoked another cigarette. She carefully shaped a little cup out of snow before each toy. When she was satisfied, she turned to the deer, which crept forward once more, giving Spike a wide berth. There was something off about the beast, though it seemed as trusting of Dru as most animals did. To their everlasting regret.
“Tea time,” she chirped, pressing a nail into the throat of the fawn. As the blood spilled out of the deep puncture, she poured a bit of it into each little snow cup. Spike rolled his eyes as each cup instantly melted flat, the blood pooling out to stain the tips of the doll’s shoes before it froze. The deer’s nose began to glow brightly as it looked blankly up at Drusilla. She kissed the wound closed, and the critter staggered off a way and folded, stunned but alive. The nose blinked out. Spike heard a squeak from behind the snowman, and fetched out a wriggling midget in poncy tights and a ridiculous hat.
“What’re you supposed to be then?” he asked, holding the thing up to his face by the back of its collar.
“I’m a dentist!” the creature exclaimed.
“Sure you are, Scooter.” He grinned a fang-filled grin at the guy, whose eyes widened comically.
“Oh! Those are amazing!” whispered the midget worshipfully, poking a finger toward Spike’s mouth.
“Hey!” said Spike, dropping the fellow. “Watch it!” The little guy straightened his jacket and drew himself up to his full 20 inches.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” he said. “I am Hermy, dentist for the North Pole. When did you last have a check up?”
“I am a vampire, idiot. We don’t have check ups.”
“Well, that certainly explains a lot,” said Hermy pertly. “And the young lady? I’ll bet she wants to keep those pearly whites, hmmm?”
Spike smiled nastily. “Why don’t you ask her, hmmm?” He turned.
“Dru, precious, there’s a dentist here wants to take a look at your fangs. Got a mo’?”
Dru looked up sharply from her tea party. “I’ve never played dentist. Is it like ‘barber’?”
“Oh no, the profession has come a long way since then, miss.”
“Pity. I liked ‘barber’,” she said.
“I’m sure you’ll like this just as much,” said Hermy smoothly, indicating a sloping rock for Drusilla to recline against. He hopped up onto a nearby boulder, and pulled a couple of instruments out of his shoulder bag. “Open wide.” She complied.
He poked about a bit with his finger and a shiny metal probe. Spike wandered over to watch, in spite of himself. When Hermy stuck a mirror on a stick into Dru’s mouth, it was practically worth the entire long trip.
“Hmmm. Vampire. Right. No reflection. We’ll just work around it,” muttered Hermy, contorting his tiny head to get a better look. Spike thought he might just crawl all the way in and get a good look, and was a little disappointed when he didn’t. After a few more tappings and requests to shift between teeth and fangs, Hermy looked up.
“Your teeth are in fabulous shape for never having been to the dentist,” he said. “I’m glad all my patients aren’t like you. I’d be out of business in no time. However, there is a problem with one of your frontal lingual fangs. I’m surprised you’ve been able to bear it. It’s going to have to come out immediately.”
“Yes, dentist,” said Dru meekly. “It has been paining me.”
“You never said!” said Spike, while Hermy rummaged deeper in his bag.
“You are such a good boy. I didn’t want you to worry about your mummy,” she said, holding a hand gently to her mouth. “You are so brave, Spike. But there’s nothing to fight and win with a silly tooth. Let the barber make it right.”
“Dentist!” piped up Hermy.
Spike sank back on his haunches. She was right. He wanted to be doing for her, but it wasn’t always for him to do. As usual, she had come to the place she needed to be, and he would do what was necessary. Which seemed to be nothing, for now.
Hermy went to work. He asked the deer over to shine his nose-light on the proceedings. All the while Hermy kept up his soothing, high-pitched, patter. Dru made a few intermittent sounds of discomfort, but waved Spike off when he came snarling up to end the creature that was hurting his treasure.
Finally, Spike grew bored and started to gather the toys up, looking around for a sack. There was blanket wrapped around the base of the lone tree, so he wrapped them all up in that.
“All done!” pronounced Hermy. “It should be perfectly comfortable in six hours or so. I wouldn’t recommend biting into anything solid until then. After that, you can eat normally. No charge.” He looked down bashfully. “I’m still a dentist-in-training, actually. But be sure to tell your friends if you liked the service.” At Spike’s baleful look, he patted the deer, and they backed away at speed.
Drusilla prodded her front fangs experimentally. “What do you think, Spike? Am I still the fairest in the land?”
He took her face between his hands to examine her fanged smile carefully. “Truly the most lovely naughty pudding I ever saw at Christmastime. Might even say: toothsome. Want a bite now.”
She kissed him, gentle, careful of her sore mouth, and gave him a playful slap to the chest when he dove in for more. She licked her teeth and smiled up at him.
“I know the first thing I’ll have for my Christmas treat,” she said, running her hands slowly over his torso.
“You’ve got it,” he promised.
He could hear an ice breaker chugging in the distance. Splendid. The crew would have the pleasure of coming to the aid of a couple of wretched souls with severe hypothermia. While they patted themselves on the back for their noble act, all heroic, his Christmas dinner would be served, after all.
He slung the bundle of toys over his shoulder. There was an odd wriggle as things settled into place against his back. Afterward, he could drop the broken, blood stained toys into the drink. A mercy, really. Drusilla couldn’t forbid it, if she didn’t know. She’d already lost interest, he was sure. And, if she hadn’t…
“She can’t fire me,” he said. “I quit.”
1. For non-residents of the USA, here's a link to a couple of pertinent songs from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a US television Christmas perennial since 1965:
A Couple of Misfits
The Most Wonderful Day of the Year (the Isle of Misfit Toys)
2. Franz Josef Land is a collection of 191 ice-covered islands, is a Russian territory, and has almost the closest landfall to the North Pole (not counting Greenland and a Canadian island).