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Sandy [userpic]
Undercover Christmas
by Sandy (sandy_s)
at December 31st, 2018 (12:54 pm)
relieved

Cheers: relieved

Title: Undercover Christmas
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss owns all.
Summary: Buffy and Spike are helping a local Canadian Watcher solve a deadly mystery at the Fairmont Hotel in Banff at Christmastime in 2005. Will they have time to slip a little romance in there, too? (Hint: it wouldn’t be Spuffy if they couldn’t…) :o)

Author’s Note: Special thank you to Badwolfjedi who graciously answered 5,000+ questions about the hotel and encouraged me to write a story set in Canada! Between her and Google, I was set! All the little hotel details in the story are real. I'm last minute - I know but it took until today to finish! Thank you so much for having this, Sue...happy holidays! *hugs*


Oh, I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away, oh
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

-      From James Horner, Mariah Carey, and Wilbur Jennings’s “Where Are You Christmas?”

Undercover Christmas

Buffy shivered as cold Canadian air rushed inside the car when the valet swept open the door for her. Tugging her coat closer together with one hand, she swung a half-bare leg out of the vehicle, accepting the offered hand of assistance. When she was on her feet in her over-the-knee leather boots, she immediately forgot about the contrast of the warmth of the car and the cold of the outside world.

Squinting in the sunlight that barely warmed the chilly air, she gazed up at the large, regal building where they’d be spending their vacation. The tall hotel was beautiful and old with a mountain range jutting up majestically all around it. Her lips parted a little in awe. Though the evergreens all around them and the roof and windows of the hotel were capped with the whitest snow she’d ever seen, the elegantly stamped concrete driveway was clear and somehow dry. The giant decorated Christmas tree when they drove up reminded Buffy that it was indeed time for the holiday again. How had a whole year passed? She’d totally failed at noticing and at buying gifts. Christmas cards had always been a no-go; her mom had always handled those.

The valet was helping her partner remove their luggage from the trunk. When the valet slammed the lid shut, Buffy forced herself to beam at the man pulling up the handle on her roller bag.

“Ready for a wonderful time?” the tall, dark-haired man asked, his smile lopsided and his deep brown eyes kind.

Buffy nodded, grateful that there was no wind to blow her blonde curls. She took his elbow when he moved beside her, her blood thrumming in her ears in anticipation of what was to come. “Ready.”

As they made their way from the sun into the shadows, she caught a glimpse of bleached hair out of the corner of her eye and smelled the hint of a burning cigarette. Her heart skipped a beat. She had to force herself not to glance in that direction or show any reaction – something she completely sucked at. Trying to focus on something else, she held the other man’s arm close and entered the elegant Fairmont hotel. She was ready for an adventure of a different sort that didn’t involve her regular Slayer duties.

* * *

Spike tossed the butt of his cigarette down, grounding out the remnants of the tiny fire under his boot. He felt a bit strange because he wasn’t wearing his usual black attire. He wore regular denim jeans and a red shirt, which were passable, but he wouldn’t be caught dead in the heavy winter jacket any other time. He hadn’t even brought his duster with him because if something happened to it while it hung uselessly in his suite, he’d never forgive himself. He ran a hand over the back of his neck and mentally shook his head at himself.

Who was he kidding? His discomfort wasn’t about what he was wearing.

He’d been very bothered seeing Buffy on the arm of another man, getting out of that sporty red Audi. It had taken everything in him not to walk up and claim her as his in broad daylight, but that wouldn’t have ended well and she’d have been brassed off at him for dusting himself over something so silly, especially after everything they’d been through. Plus, he took this mission seriously enough to not fuck it up.

Leaning against the wall of the hotel all casual-like, he waited a few minutes after Buffy had disappeared inside to push himself up and follow her.

He ignored the beautiful carpets, the high ceilings, and grey stone walls that were decorated with garland and Christmas lights in favor of finding his Slayer’s slight figure and bouncing curls. He was glad she was finally here. They’d agreed to go radio silent for a night to really get used to the roles they were playing, but honestly, the silence made him twitchy – not because he was possessive of her. Hell, he would walk away if that’s what she wanted. He was twitchy because he was worried. Funny how he hadn’t worried all those months with Angel’s crew, but now that Spike was with her, he worried she’d change her mind about being with him, worried that she wouldn’t forgive him for his much longer silence, worried that the universe would do something to drive them apart.

Spike headed for one of the desks with a steward behind it, pretending that he cared about what time things opened and closed and where there was a good place to get sushi in town. The steward reminded him that there was a delicious sushi place in the hotel and that there was a lovely place for hot chocolate and relaxation after dinner.

Spike timed the end of the conversation with Buffy and her companion passing by behind him and holding hands. Spike thanked the steward and accepted the handful of brochures even though he already had all of them in his suite. With a wink, the hotel worker even gave him some vouchers for the spa and bowling alley. Spike hadn’t even noticed that the girl had been taken with him. He offered her a smile and nod of thanks.

Pretending to study a map of the hotel, he followed Buffy and the Watcher, stopping cattycorner to them at the elevators. When there was a soft ding indicating arrival of the elevator, he kept his nose buried in the printout until he was safely inside with them and the doors slid shut.

Spike’s shoulders relaxed as he pushed the button to the sixth floor where they’d both booked suites. At last, they could talk. “Hey, love.”

“Oh my god, this place is gorgeous!” Buffy gushed, beaming at him. “And hi.”

“You can let go of his hand now.” Spike nodded at their interlocking fingers.

“Oh. Right.” She narrowed her eyes at him in that flirtatious way of hers. “Jealous?”

“No.” Even he knew his tone was a little too emphatic. “Maybe a little.”

Buffy’s companion clasped her hand tighter. “We should really stay in character if we’re going to pull this off. Even in the elevator.” The Watcher seemed irritated, and Spike decided that he didn’t like the other man’s tweed suit. He wasn’t even British.

Buffy glanced at Spike and shrugged one shoulder. “Mark’s right.” She tilted her head up at Spike anyway. “Last one for the road?”

Mark sighed as Spike took advantage of the offer to tenderly kiss her warm lips, nipping her bottom one and then drawing back with his tongue roving over his incisor in a way that drove her crazy. He smelled her body react and was relieved.

Buffy, for her part, managed to pop back into her role with, “What was that smell in the lobby? It was amazing! Like minty but something else.”

“Eucalyptus,” Spike said softly. “From the spa.”

“Think I’ll have time for a spa treatment while I’m here? I’ve never actually been to a hotel spa.” Buffy’s face lit with excitement.

“Maybe this afternoon. Our quarry isn’t due to go out and about until this evening,” Mark said, his eyes weary. “We should all take a breather.”

“It’s probably too expensive.” Buffy sighed. “A girl can dream.”

Spike decided he liked this lighthearted side of her; he’d seen far too little of it at the end of their time in Sunnydale, and things hadn’t all been roses and sunshine in L.A. after she’d found him. Their road trip to New Orleans had been nice but not enough of a break from everything before they got back to work. This. . . this being in Canada in the mountains far from everything felt like a real respite even if they were on another mission and an undercover one at that.

Spike rummaged through the pile the steward had given him, extending the spa voucher. “Here.”

Buffy accepted the bit of paper and saw what it was. Her mouth dropped open. “How?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Spike was just happy to surprise her. “Use them. Enjoy them.”

Her green eyes were shining as she held them to her heart. “Thank you.”

The elevator slowed.

“I’ll text you soon,” Buffy said to reassure him.

“Make sure you’re not on the hotel wi-fi,” Mark reminded them.

Spike longed to nuzzle Buffy’s soft cheek, but he held back. “Alright on both counts.”

Comments

Posted by: Double Dutchess (double_dutchess)
Posted at: January 2nd, 2019 03:11 pm (UTC)
Hell of a Woman

That hotel sounds like the perfect location for a romantic Christmas getaway! Too bad they're only there for work, but I am confident they will manage to make the most of it.