It’s my day – or was until an hour ago. A mod gave me permission to post now, though, as it’s before bedtime, just. (Guess which mod. ;-) )
Here’s a fic which started out as a ficlet but just growed. This bit is G-rated, as mild as you get. I’m not planning for it to stay that way, though. The rest will come on the Free-For-All day.
Word tells me it’s 1,575 words. Spuffy. But you guessed that.
By the time she had an actual wedding night Buffy was pretty confident there was no sexual activity she hadn’t tried with Spike. He was endlessly inventive, and his vampire stamina didn’t hurt either. He might not be able to spell it all, but good lord he could achieve some literally breathtaking moments.
She was surprised, then, to see him going to so much trouble to choose their wedding venue and honeymoon hotel. She hadn’t been able to get near her laptop for days, and he had learned the infuriating trick of deleting his browsing history. Not that she would have dreamed of trying to check out where he had been looking. No way. That would have been wrong.
She’d agreed to a winter wedding, in Scotland at that. “Not much daylight, pet. And we might get to see the Northern Lights.” As if either of them cared about that. Dawn had gone into a huddle with Willow to design dresses that were warm and glamorous. Spike refused to wear a kilt. Xander agreed until he discovered from Giles that Spike had refused. Spike shrugged – it had been fun while it lasted.
The day, the shortest of the year, naturally, approached. Buffy grew ever more avoidy as Spike became fixated by detail. On the rare occasions they met alone she took to begging him to elope. He refused. She threatened to choose Wind Beneath Your Wings for the first dance. He smiled and humoured her. He didn’t quite pat her on the head, but it was close.
Dawn took her aside two days short of The Day Itself. “Buffy, I just don’t get it. I can remember you doodling sketches of wedding dresses all over your jotter when you were in high school.” No you don’t. You didn’t even exist then. “When you were engaged to him that time Willow did a spell you spent hours planning the cake. So why are you treating it as one big yawn now? Even Giles is more excited than you are.”
It was hard to explain to herself, let alone to Dawn. Something to do with Sunnydale – and Mom – being not just in a crater but actually composing a crater. Something to do with all her virginal dreams having been about marrying another vampire. The wrong vampire, she now knew, but still. Something to do with not needing external validation for a relationship which had started with murderous intent on both sides and matured through frenzied sex into deep, abiding passion and love that was not going to be affected by any white dress or formal certificate. It wasn’t as if it was going to be in a church, or even a kirk.
No, it was an excuse for a party, that was all. And Buffy and parties? Not so good a track record. She recalled surprise birthday parties with demons, Welcome Home parties with zombies, birthday parties that refused to end, drinks parties that just felt that way. Somehow, none of this had the slightest thing to do with her and Spike. She was so over it.
The day before the day before the ceremony she allowed herself to be vamphandled into a luxe cabin on an overnight train. “Bad luck to see each other now, pet. When you wake you’ll be in Bonnie Scotland, you’ll see. And I’ll see you coming down the aisle the day after. Beautiful, you’ll look.” And he turned, waved and vanished into the dark of the station. King’s Cross Station no less. As if she was going to Hogwarts – which she might just as well be doing for all she knew.
Willow and Dawn had the cabin next door and bubbled and frothed their way through the evening as if they had no need of the large bottles of Bollinger so thoughtfully provided by the groom in a hamper delivered ten minutes after the train moved out of the station. Buffy sipped cautiously at a single glass, then pleaded a headache and turned in.
And when she woke up she was in Scotland. After their carriage had pulled out of Edinburgh breakfast was delivered to her door – Eggs Benedict, pancakes, and yet more champagne. (Are they all drunks in these islands?) Slowly the view became more rugged, the grey December skies more overcast and the hills frosted with white. This was what counted as mountains round here, where anything over three thousand feet was seen as prodigious.
Buffy showered in the not entirely inadequate facilities and dressed as the train climbed away from the coast up into wilder, bleaker territory, and the snow fell steadily, no longer a scenic attraction, more an impediment to visibility. They were high up, but the terrain rolled rather than peaked, with trees increasingly rare.
And then they stopped. Dawn and Willow tumbled into Buffy’s cabin, breaking up a promising session of brooding, manhandled her into a coat they produced with a flourish and towed her along the corridor and down the steps onto a platform.
Nothing else. Just a platform. On the opposite side of the line (one track only?) there was some sort of shed, now more. The wind blew steadily, thrusting little spears of snow and ice into her face, so that she pulled her coat more firmly round her and wished for a hood to hide her head in. This was such fun. Not.
Somebody (did they really still have porters on this line?) had passed their luggage down to them before the train hooted once and pulled away. Three young women used to California weather, a ridiculous pile of boxes and cases and an empty stretch of concrete. Correction – an empty stretch of snow-covered concrete. The day was getting better and better.
The sky by now was almost a charcoal colour – one good reason to choose the place for a vampire wedding, perhaps. No, change that. The only good reason to select this god-forsaken patch of icy nowhere. Buffy’s nose was getting cold. Probably red too, which was just perfect for a bride-to be. It was one thing to be annoyed at all the fuss, but quite another to swan down the aisle looking as if she had a heavy cold or was recovering from losing a punch-up. Something she did not do; this was doubly, no, trebly unfair.
She was seriously considering whether covering her nose with her hands might lead to loss of a finger or so from frostbite when a loud honking sound made her turn round. And enormous yellow bus stood there, steam curling off the hood, which was of a style Pa Joad would recognise. The whole thing looked like it was held together by chewing gum and hope, but it had a roof, wheels at each corner and some sort of seating – and clearly offered the best chance of not becoming popsicle!Buffy. She clambered on board the big open step at the rear and sank with relief onto a seat halfway along. Dawn and Willow (did they feel no sense of cold?) bounced on the bus behind her, filling the chilled air with girlish glee and giggles. Buffy sank into a reverie and the collar of her coat.
Ten jouncing minutes later she was even happier to jump down from the bus. The snow had turned into a blizzard – at least, Buffy assumed it counted as one when seeing your boots took effort. She stumbled forwards as warm hands towed her towards a heavy oak door and beyond into the sort of hall you saw only in the cheesiest of movies.
There were beams overhead, blackened by centuries of smoke, presumably. The room smelled smoky enough now for that to be likely. Not one but two complete suits of armour, mostly shiny. Flagstones on the floor worn smooth by centuries of polishing. Dark, dark panelling on the walls.
“This isn’t a re-run with Dracula is it?” Buffy turned to Willow in sudden apprehension.
“If it is, he’s unconscionably slow about showing himself.” Giles’s dry voice floated from a leather armchair near the hearth. “No, Buffy, this is the place your fiancé selected. It’s what you might call in traditional vampiric taste, don’t you think?”
The next few minutes were devoted to squeeful reunions. Then large quantities of
food were served at a huge table, the sort Milord and Milady would have needed semaphore to communicate with from one end to the other. The minions serving them were polite, if incomprehensible and apparently human. No demons anywhere, in fact. No need for the backup weapons bag she’d brought, at least she hoped not. Bride!Buffy was so not going to double up with Slayer duties. It might be a ridiculous lot of fuss – and why couldn’t she spend the night with Spike if he was here in the mansion – but she had some standards, and a blood-or-slime-spattered wedding gown was beyond her line in the sand.
The snow swirled against the window panes, and even the fire in her grate (in a bedroom? WTF?) wasn’t quite enough to dispel the chill. She jumped into bed, shivering until her feet connected with a hard, hot cylinder which, on investigation, turned out to be some sort of antique pottery hot water bottle. At least it was hot. She drifted off to sleep at last, mesmerised by the patterns on the windows and the flickering reflections caused by the fire. Tomorrow was going to be a demanding day.
Chapter Two is here.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/489182.html