I enjoyed visualising our pair trapped in the deeply weird Britain of 2020. This week cultural clashes work both ways, and for the last Free-For-All posting day of this round of seasonal_spuffy I offer a Thanksgiving companion piece to Fireworks
Thanks are due to all the mods (including your humble servant for a while) and contributors who have kept this wonderful event going for fifteen years, and to the
lurkers readers and viewers who have made it worthwhile. May you have lots to be actively thankful for in the year to come, and a year containing far fewer apocalypses than 2020 has offered so far.
Title: Thanks to Spike
Era/season/setting Present day.
Rating: As low as it could be. Positively down-home wholesome.
Spike was muttering. The scowl on his face made him look halfway to Bumpsville, but without the actual fangs. Yet. He didn’t so much as pace about the kitchen as prowl.
Buffy refused to look in his direction, let alone ask what the problem was. She knew very well why her vampire was in a grumpy mood. OK, a strop, to use his word. And no way was she going to do anything about it.
It had started the day before with a bet. He’d sworn blind that nobody in his stupid little country had ever heard of Thanksgiving, unless you counted July 4th, which was Good-riddance-to-bad-rubbish Day. Turkeys were for Christmas, sweet potato casserole was an abomination unknown to civilization, and pumpkin pie was not a thing, let alone pumpkin spice.
At some point in this conversation, (a heated conversation, yes, but so not an argument, let alone a row), a wager had been suggested. Spike pointed out that a Wednesday in the middle of lockdown was a stupid time to try to get ingredients for a totally American event. She’d said it was fine. Food stores were essential and still open, didn’t he even read the news any more? He’d suggested that British food shops might very well be open, but they wouldn’t have the stuff to do anything as alien as what she wanted. She had asserted the contrary. And somehow – she couldn’t even work out how it had come about herself in retrospect – he’d bet her that she couldn’t gather together all the fixings for a proper Thanksgiving meal by midnight. If she could, he would sodding well cook it for her himself.
A girl likes a challenge. A retired superhero girl (woman, thank you very much), without too much slaying to do since vamps and demons alike had gone into hiding, particularly likes a challenge involving shopping and what passed in this funny little country for malls. So she’d called Giles. Why drive yourself on the wrong side of the road when there was a native available who actually understood their weird stoplights and traffic circles and knew which way to go round them by instinct?
The call had worked. Giles, officially vulnerable and shielding, was half out of his mind with boredom. What’s more, he knew exactly where to go to spend Spike’s money. Yes, that had been part of the deal too. Fortnum and Mason’s, Harrod’s, even as downmarket as Waitrose had been raided. And finally, on their way back to the discreet pad in Bayswater the newly-reconstituted Council paid for, at Giles’s insistence, as a belated recognition of their Senior Slayer, he’d taken a detour via Holland Park, a swish off-Kensington location, to an actual goodness personified American Food Store, where she had stocked up on all the candies and tinned goods her heart desired and that she could in any way pass off as essential to the season.
She’d staggered in around half past seven, loaded with deliciousness. For some reason Giles had declined her pressing invite to join them, with mutterings about painful memories and once being enough, even without an annoyed vampire doing his thing but free range now. He’d finally conceded he might drop in the next day, for the meal itself, and bring his lady along, but only if she promised to call him and pinky promise it would be safe.
At that point she hadn’t grasped what he’d meant. Now, however, eighteen hours after her arrival home, she fully understood. Vampires and baking were really not mixy things. She should have remembered his reactions to that TV show just finished.
She’d started by dumping boxes and bags on the table and inviting her room-mate to admire her mad marketing skills. The look on his face had been hilarious. For about twenty minutes. Then the sheer panic mingled with rising fury became more than a little discomforting.
It had taken the sort of superhuman strength she normally reserved for dealing with demons not to cave and offer to help. Too well she recalled her first attempts to create this same meal for the friends who were family back in vanished Sunnydale. OK, she could be reasonably confident there were no Chumash graves in west London, nor other indigenous tribes to attack them. Nobody was turning into a bear again on her watch, no sir. But the need for utensils he’d never heard of struck a chord. The desperate attempts to calculate timings and schedules were familiar. So, unfortunately, was the smell of carbonised food that tainted the air by mid-morning.
But, no. Spike had been adamant he could handle it himself. He’d used a ripe range of Olde Englishe language to emphasise it. So she had, in his words, buggered off upstairs to call Dawn back home in California, not at all to keep her giggling helplessly as she retold his culinary adventures to date. Three hours later (so? Zoom calls were free, or as good as, since the Council paid for the business bundle) she had strolled back downstairs.
So, Spike was muttering as he prowled around the kitchen. The intense expression on his face was one she didn’t see often outside their bedroom.
Then he looked up and smiled, the intense gaze he kept for her alone. He bowed, in that old-fashioned way he sometimes summoned up from previous centuries. “Would milady care to come this way?”
He ushered her into a dining room decorated with gourds and pumpkins, models of Pilgrims and the Mayflower, bunting with US flags on it and the shiniest flatware she’d ever seen. He drew back a chair for her, shook out a napkin and laid it on her lap. Then he retreated to the kitchen, from which he brought dish after dish of traditional goodness, with yams and pies, turkey and sauce, green bean casserole and sharp cranberry sauce, the proper sort, from a can.
Buffy gazed at her hero, for once absolutely speechless. “One more thing, pet, and I’ll be with you. If you like you can start serving yourself.”
Spike retreated to the kitchen and closed the door firmly. He gathered an enormous black plastic bag into his fist and, opening the back door, whistled softly. A small, pimply, blue demon appeared.
Spike pulled out his wallet. The monumental cost of this meal had just doubled; but it was very, very worth it to see the look on the face of his princess and to win the unwinnable bet. “You take the charred remains away, right? Thanks for delivering, mate. Here, have a pint of whatever you drink on me.”
The demon nodded, produced what his species probably considered a smile, but which even a vampire thought had too many fangs in it, and pocketed the large wad of notes Spike offered him. Another satisfied customer for UberDemonEats.
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/719051.html