Author’s Note: Okay, so here it is. Part One of my contribution to seasonal_spuffy. There are five parts, which I will post intermediately throughout the day as time allows. The second part should be coming sometime around midmorning, the third around noon, the fourth mid-afternoon, and the fifth in the early evening, all in Central Standard Time, USA. I only have this fic to offer you, as my PS skills leave much wanting, and I was pressed to get this alone written in the time allowed. I sincerely hope everyone can at least get some laughs and enjoyment from my contribution, as it was terribly fun to write.
A few things: I owe everything to megan_peta, dusty273, therealmccoy1, and uisge_beatha for their superb betaing jobs. vampkiss, of course, made the gorgeous banner. therealmccoy1 provided one of my favorite lines of the series, which appears in Part One, and megan_peta talked me through several bumps in the last two parts, and similarly provided a wonderful line. Thank you ladies so much for taking the time to go over this for me. I don’t know what I’d do without you.
Lastly, angst lovers will likely be left wanting. This is undoubtedly the most saccharine story I’ve ever written. It’s a screwball holiday comedy, done in the manner of A Christmas Story with elements of absurdism that would hopefully do Tom Stoppard proud. And yes, as with most of my fics, it does get a little smutty. In fact, as I was writing it, I couldn’t help but think of George Carlin’s line, “You ever notice how you never get laid on Thanksgiving? I think it’s because they put all the coats on the bed.” I gleefully set myself up to prove that wrong.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Enjoy!
Rating: NC-17 (for language and sexual situations)
Timeline: Drastically AU Glory-less Season 5. No Dawn or Riley.
Summary: Buffy asks Spike to help her with her Thanksgiving dinner, and is determined to keep Xander’s prophecy the previous year of a “new tradition” from coming true. The PTB, unfortunately, have other ideas.
Disclaimer: The characters herein are the property of Joss Whedon. They are being used out of respect and admiration for entertainment purposes, and not for the sake of profit. No copyright infringement is intended.
“I really think you’re overreactin’, pet.”
“Overreacting? Do you have any idea what all is supposed to go into dressing?” Buffy eyed the ingredients list her mother had provided with a whimper, stomping her foot against the ground before shoving it in her pocket with a defeated grunt. “There are things on there that, I swear to God, she just made up. Stupid ‘family’ recipe. Why can’t we make it like normal people?”
Spike rolled his eyes and boldly slipped his hand into her front pocket, retrieving the list. “You’ve never heard of butter?” he asked, smoothly sidestepping a headstone.
“That’s not the only ingredient,” she retorted stubbornly.
“Onion. Chopped celery. Crumbled cornbread an’ toasted bread crumbs. Minced fresh parsley…” He favored her with an arched brow. “Don’ s’pose you’ve ever heard of parsley.”
“I know what parsley is, smartass.” She paused. “But honestly…minced? What the hell is minced? Sounds…” Her bravado faded under his incredulous gaze, and her lip poked out in a pout. “Evil.”
“Tell me, Summers, how is it that you actually made it to college?”
Just when I think he might be somewhat decent…
“Shut up,” she said instead.
“Bakin’ powder,” he continued. “Hard-cooked eggs, chicken or turkey broth, an’ rubbed, dried sage leaves.”
“Aha! See! Whoever thought of adding leaves as an ingredient? It must be a hellmouth thing.”
She shrugged. “At least we’re agreed on this. That’s why you’re helping me, remember?”
Spike leered. “I thought I was helpin’ you so you could spend the day seein’ what good I can do with my hands.”
Buffy flushed but batted at him dismissively, stuffing the list back into her pocket. “Get over yourself.”
He didn’t reply at that, merely flashed a smile and shook his head.
It was strange pretending that nothing had changed. Pretending that a few days ago, her world hadn’t nearly rolled off its axis. Granted things had been changing between her and Spike so gradually, she shouldn’t have been surprised that a moment of utter awkwardness had come about their unusual camaraderie. She knew, after all, how he felt about her. She didn’t understand it; didn’t know why or how his hatred for her had changed at the rate it had, but somehow, she didn’t question it. Like all things in her world, some ends were simply inevitable.
What she hadn’t anticipated was the sudden wealth of affection she felt for him. The affection that had originated, it seemed, from nowhere at all. After all, her relationship with Spike since he paraded back into her life couldn’t exactly be called healthy. There was the chip, his numerous attempts to get it out, his suicidal resignation that he was handicapped, his scheming to exhibit his evil nature in less-subtle-more-annoying methods, and then the final resignation that came with the knowledge that he could harm other demons. It hadn’t been easy for him; at the same time, it hadn’t taken him too long to jump aboard whatever wagon led to the most destruction. His ability to hurt demons cast him in a role of ally that no one could have predicted.
It had made them grow close. It had turned their hatred for each other into begrudging acceptance. Then to acknowledged admiration. Then to friendship. And now, Spike loved her.
He’d never said the words, of course. Never indicated anything to bring her to such a startling conclusion. It was more in the little things; the things he did and said without thinking. The way he looked at her when he didn’t think she was watching. He told her in a thousand different ways and just assumed she wasn’t paying attention. Just assumed she needed words to know the deeper meaning of his smallest actions.
She didn’t. Spike loved her, and recently, the feelings she had for him were well-paced to convergence.
The other night, though, had destroyed the veil of ignorance they played at when around each other. They’d been fighting a nest of newbie vamps when the last had tackled Buffy to the ground, pressing her wrists above her head and forcing her to forfeit her stake.
Her ears were still ringing from Spike’s possessive growl of warning. How she knew it was possessive was beyond her, call it slayer intuition or wishful thinking—she didn’t know. Only that the growl itself was followed by his leaping at the would-be assailant and dusting him through the back—merely to land directly atop Buffy with just enough foresight to toss the stake away before he did something unthinkable.
The feel of him lying between her legs was a sensation that had yet to give her a night’s rest. She’d never forget how wide his eyes grew. How he’d looked so open and vulnerable, so unsure and filled with unspoken desire. They’d stared at each other for what felt like ages as if daring the other to move. He’d murmured her name before dropping his gaze to her mouth, and for nothing more than a second, the world around them had ceased to exist.
It didn’t last, of course. A fresh grave a few feet away began a familiar stir, and they were forced to break away. Neither mentioned it after patrol was over, or any night thereafter.
But he thought about it. She knew he thought about it. If she was so obsessed with it, it must be driving him crazy. Her dreams were haunted with a thousand visions and scenarios. She wondered what he would have done had she thrust her pelvis against his erection. If she’d moaned his name. Hell, if she’d breathed differently. He was so good at reading her; why was it that the signs she’d purposefully given him went unnoticed?
Not much had outwardly changed. Buffy went directly to Restfield to meet Spike at sunset for their normal patrols. He’d teased her about class, she’d called him chip-head—the normal. The ever-comfortable, unchanging dependability that she both treasured and resented. What waited for them beyond this was a little unnerving, but she found, especially after what had nearly happened between them, that the prospect of what they could have together made the leap seem worth it.
“Y’know,” Spike said, bursting her from her reverie. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you get so fanatic about a bloody holiday as you do over Thanksgiving.”
“It’s a time for family togetherness,” Buffy observed.
“Thanksgiving is a purely American holiday.”
He gave her a look. “This bein’ why two Brits are gonna be at your dinner.”
“Ah, the markings of a truly intelligent debate.”
She pouted, kicking at the ground. “Meanie.”
“Well, yeh. Vampire.”
“Keep that up and I’ll take your name off the guest list.”
“Not bloody likely. You need me to help you cook.”
Her pout deepened and she kicked at the ground again. “You don’t need to rub it in. Anyway, I have the turkey, which I’ll start thawing tomorrow.”
“Do you know how to thaw a turkey?”
She shrugged. “I figured I’d use my blow-dryer.”
Spike laughed loudly as though she’d said something deeply amusing. He stopped and sobered, though, when he caught the look on her face. “Oh, you’re serious.”
“What’s wrong with my idea?”
He laughed again, a bit uneasily. “Well…Buffy, a bloody blow-dryer?”
A long moan hissed through her lips. “God, I suck at this,” she complained, whipping out the list again. “I swear, it’s going to be a disaster…and it’s all Xander’s fault with his stupid ‘let’s make crappy holidays a tradition’ remark last year.” She shook her head and turned her eyes back to the paper. “Okay…thaw turkey.”
“Not by bloody blow-dryer,” Spike added.
Buffy sighed. “Yes, okay. No blow-drying. I’ll do it some other way. What else…I’m supposed to baste the turkey? God, what does that mean?” She glanced to him quickly. “Please tell me you’re a master baster.”
Spike’s head ducked as he tried and failed to smother another rich snicker.
“Oh, grow up.”
“I’d call myself a superb master baster, luv.”
“Oi. You’re the one that said it. I jus’ took it an’ ran.”
“Seriously. Can you baste? Can you do…half the things on this list?” She handed him the slip of paper again. “Or at least be in the same room as I try to so you can tell me what I’m doing wrong?”
“Pet, I’ve already committed myself to not leave you alone in the room with the oven so much as preheatin’. I think you have me well under your thumb as far as this sodding holiday goes.”
Buffy nodded and shoved the list back in her pocket. “I’m just nervous.”
“Couldn’t tell,” he retorted, smothering a grin.
“You could be a bit more supportive, you know.”
Spike nodded. “Right. The dinner will be a smashing success. People’ll chat about it for years to come. It’ll be the bloody bar by which all future holidays are judged.”
“Very well, but we’re not talkin’ about that.” He waggled his brows. “Though, ‘f you wanna sample of my suckin’, I’m sure we can slip into a mausoleum an’—”
Her cheeks rouged and she kicked at his legs. “Stop it.”
He smirked. “Jus’ like seein’ you turn that color, luv,” he purred.
The cool November air burned her skin, and she shook her head in a desperate ploy to change the subject. “It doesn’t look like we’re gonna have any luck tonight,” she said, indicating a headstone.
“I can rectify that,” he sneered. “’F you’re lookin’ to get lucky.”
Spike shook his head and chuckled. “You’re jus too easy to embarrass, sweetheart.”
He domed a brow and ran his hand down her back, relishing in the way she shuddered against him, and barely concealing a grin at the surprised yelp she released when he caressed her ass. She jumped out of reach the next second, wagging a finger at him. “Knock it off,” she reprimanded without conviction.
“Jus’ provin’ a point. No need to get all skittish.”
“I am not skittish. I’m just…I don’t like to be…”
“Touched?” Spike rumbled suggestively.
“Teased,” she emphasized.
“Well, hell, luv, ‘f you’re achin’ for the real thing—”
Buffy shook her head and held up a hand. “There are no vamps tonight,” she said. “We’ve made three sweeps of this cemetery alone, and no one’s coming out.” She sighed. “Which means that there’ll be a ton of fledglings tomorrow when I’m getting everything ready. Stupid Hellmouth never cuts me a break.”
He rubbed her back again, this time in reassurance. “’S all right, pet. We’ll patrol tomorrow night after everything’s taken care of. An’ if you like, I’ll go with you to the supermarket tomorrow to make sure you get everythin’ you need.”
Spike shrugged. “Sure. Seems only fair, ‘specially since I’m evidently responsible for the whole bloody meal.” A smirk nudged his lips. “You think you can manage toast without turnin’ it into a catastrophe?”
She snorted ineloquently. “Don’t hold your breath.”
“Not really a problem.”
Buffy offered an appreciative grin, then stopped and released a deep sigh. “Okay…well…I was planning on doing my shopping early tomorrow morning. I don’t…you’re usually sleeping then, aren’t you? I was just gonna spend the day, you know, decorating the house and such, but I guess I could—”
He shrugged. “Let’s jus’ stick to your schedule, pet. I can be at your place whenever you want me.”
A naughty shiver raced down her spine. Is that a promise?
“Actually, how about the Magic Box?”
“Bright an’ early? Is the bloody place even gonna be open tomorrow with half the sodding town visitin’ the family they can only stand once a year?”
“Xander eventually convinced Anya that it would cost money to open the store, rather than make it,” Buffy agreed. “But I think there’s something I can use there.”
Spike threw his hands up. “No bloody magic herbs for the dressing.”
“No, I mean to thaw the turkey.”
“Magic to thaw the turkey? Doesn’ sound much better.”
“No, no, no. I saw it on TV once. You’ll see tomorrow, okay?” She grinned. “Besides, it’s closer to the supermarket.”
“I don’ mind goin’ to your place.”
“Well, I’m gonna be at the Magic Box, so unless you wanna be put to work by my mom, you should be at the store by eight.”
“Then there I’ll be.”
He smiled affectionately and tucked a wayward lock of hair behind her ear. He was close. Close in ways that wouldn’t have affected her just a few days ago. Close in ways that would undoubtedly taunt her as she slept that night. But God, he looked good. So open and inviting. The impulse to throw herself in his arms was growing more persistent by the second. She needed to get home before she did something stupid or embarrassing. Or both.
Stupid distracting vampires.
“Tomorrow, then?” he asked hoarsely, as though tempted by the same conflicting thoughts. Well, he better be conflicted. She sure as hell didn’t want to be in this by herself.
Snap out of it!
Buffy nodded and forced herself to ignore the protesting voice that demanded she take him by the hand, drag him home, and do naughty things to him until morning. That voice led to nowhere good. Nowhere good.
Good. Now all you need to do is believe it.
“Tomorrow,” she said with a nod. “Goodnight, Spike.”
She turned and walked away then before her disobedient hands could do something that would make their friendship even more awkward than it was presently. It was hard enough trying to reconcile that not-hating him and enjoying his company made him a friend, even though she knew they’d been anything but enemies for nearly a year now. Progressing from that to the realm of conscious lusty thoughts was a huge leap.
One huge, terrifying leap.
Falling for vampires is always a bad.
Well, really, falling for men was always a bad. If she was going to judge Spike on the precedent Angel had set for all vampires, she’d have to judge men based on guys like Parker.
Spike’s different. You’ve hung out with him for months. You know he’s different.
Best to put him out of her mind until tomorrow. Until she was made to uselessly torture herself with wanting again.
It wouldn’t work, but the thought was at least encouraging.
It was a good thing Anya was out of town with Xander’s obnoxious family—Buffy didn’t think she was up to dealing with lectures on ethics as told by ex-murderous demons at present. She supposed she should feel guilty for sneaking in like a criminal without permission, but it was Giles’s store, and he was used to such behavior from her.
It was about twenty before eight, and despite her lack of sleep the night before, Buffy felt amazingly alert. It was way early for her, but as predicted, her dreams had been tormented by images of a certain vampire, and she had been entirely grateful for sunrise. While her time with Spike did little but add to her confusion, there was something about being with him that, for a little while, made everything absolutely clear.
For a time.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she sang absently to herself, hauling the frozen turkey to the wrap desk. “Everywhere you go. Take a look at the five-and-ten, glistening once again, with candy canes and silver lanes aglow.”
She stopped at the counter and glanced up, surveying the column of fluorescent lights. “Okay,” she murmured. “Looks good.”
The next second, she had raised herself atop the surface, careful of the random cheap collectables that Anya placed near the register for last-minute buyers. She had to stand on her tiptoes to get a good view of the dusty metal shelf that rested atop the lights.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she continued, satisfied. She turned her eyes back to the turkey. “Toys in every store. But the prettiest sight you’ll see is the holly that will be on your own front door.”
It was going to be a tight squeeze, admittedly, but she knew how hot the lights became once activated. Really, the plan was bulletproof.
“A pair of something and something and something or other is the hope of Barney and Ben.” She lifted the turkey into her arms and carefully placed it across the column. She waited a minute after releasing it, counted to ten, and released a sigh of relief. “Dolls that’ll something and do something else is the wish of Janice and Jen.”
“An’ mum an’ pap can hardly wait for school to start again,” rang a familiar baritone from the back.
Buffy jumped and turned, her hand flying to her heart instinctively. “God, Spike!”
“Was jus’ enjoyin’ the view, luv.” A wicked grin spread across his lips. “Why? Did I scare you?”
“No, I was jumping on a counter for my health.”
“What are you doin’, anyway?”
She nodded at the lights. “Thawing a turkey.”
The grin melted just as easily and Spike stalked forward, his eyes going wide when he saw what she had accomplished. “Bloody hell, Slayer…”
“That’s not gonna work.”
“Sure it is,” she argued. “There’s no one in the store today, and those lights are really hot.”
“’S a bloody fire waitin’ to happen.”
“It’s on the small thing between the lights and the ceiling. It’s not directly on the lights. Besides…” She indicated the showcase lights that were designated to hit the collectables she’d noted earlier. “See? It’s a double heat ray. It has to work.”
“You’re just jealous ‘cause you didn’t think of it.”
Spike tossed her a wary smile, then held out a hand to help her down. “You’re either insane or you’re brilliant,” he decided, shaking his head. “Let’s jus’ hope it’s the latter.”
Buffy just shrugged and grinned. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” she continued. “Everywhere you go.”
“There’s a tree in the grand hotel, one in the park as well. The sturdy kind that doesn’ mind the snow.”
“You know the words?”
He waved a hand. “’Ello. I’ve been around forever. An’ aren’t you singin’ about the wrong holiday?”
“There are no Thanksgiving songs,” she said. “And everyone starts decorating for Christmas in November, anyway. So it’s actually beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
“There are Thanksgiving songs,” he countered, frowning.
“You were never taught ‘We Gather Together’?” Spike rolled his eyes. “For fuck’s sake, it’s your bloody holiday.”
“Sing it for me,” Buffy suggested, crossing her arms.
“What? You were singing a minute ago!”
“I’m not gonna bloody serenade you.”
She pouted. “Well, phooey, you’re no fun. Come on, Spike. Where’s the Thanksgiving spirit?”
“I’m British. Now’s the time when I’m s’posed to begrudge you for stealing our colonies.”
“Need I remind you how badly we whupped your British ass in the Revolutionary War?”
“Hell, pet, I’m jus’ impressed you named the right war.”
She scowled and elbowed him, ignoring his laughter. “You’re just bitter because our country’s bigger,” she said.
“An’ you paid for it with blood. How very American of you.”
“You’re really not gonna sing the song for me?”
He shook his head. “Really not.”
Buffy pouted. “Fine, party pooper,” she said, pulling out a revised edition of the grocery list. “Are you ready to go?”
“Let’s go a-shoppin’,” he agreed, but she didn’t reply. Instead, she turned to make sure the front door was locked, then took lead ahead of him, ignoring him as best she could. Her random mood change baffled him for a minute, but as expected, the vampire picked up on her motive rather quickly and growled something about bossy women under his breath.
Yeah, that’s gonna help.
It didn’t take long for her tactic to drive him crazy. Rather, a few seconds later, Spike sighed in concession. “Oh, fine. I’ll sing the bloody song.”
Buffy’s frown melted into a brilliant smile.
He just shook his head. “You’re impossible.”
“And yet, you love me anyway.”
There was a pause at that. A long, uncomfortable pause. Buffy willed herself not to retract, or even look at him. She stared straight ahead, trying to look as though she hadn’t said anything remarkable or approached an issue that neither of them had even admitted was between them.
In the end, Spike didn’t reply either way. He merely released a deep breath and began slowly, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; he chastens and hastens his will to make known; the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing, sing praises to his name: he forgets not his own.”
“You don’t strike me as an evangelical,” Buffy quipped nervously, entirely too aware of his presence. The song hadn’t done much to distract her from the awkwardness that had stretched between them.
“’m not,” Spike agreed. “You wanted to hear the bloody song.”
“Is there more?”
She smiled, trying to overcome her discomfort, and batted her eyes. “Please?”
“Why? You din’t even know this song existed.”
“Well, I do now and I’m trying to broaden my horizons. Besides…” Rouge tinted her cheeks. “I like the way you sing.”
Spike’s eyes brightened at that. “Really? Erm…really?”
She nodded. “You know, when you’re not drunk or singing to the Sex Pistols.”
“Don’ be criticizin’ my taste in music.”
“You have taste in music?”
He studied her for a minute longer, then weakened and conceded. “You’re hell on a man’s resilience,” he commented, reaching for his cigarettes before moving forward to open the hatch that led to the sewer for her. “Right. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine; so from the beginning the fight we were winning; thou, Lord, wast at our side, all glory be thine.”
The lyrics that he was singing sounded more than bizarre coming from him, but that did little to diminish the waves that crashed over her by the melodic notes in his voice. Begging him to sing for her? Not the best way to convince herself that she was just casually interested in him.
It just made her wonder what else that mouth was capable of.
And that led to badness. Much badness. And badness plus Buffy was very nonmixy.
Only it seemed to follow her wherever she went.
Very nonmixy. Best to think about the seating arrangement for the dinner. There had to be hundreds of ways to sort four people.
It’d at least get her to the grocery store.
“Amen,” Spike concluded, studying her hard.
Okay. So admit it. You’re in trouble.
She fought back the moan that crawled up her throat.
This was so inconvenient.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/24992.html