Chp 5 Bearing Gifts
Stars in the Bright Sky
Chapter 7 Bearing Gifts
It’s Christmas Day and Buffy isn’t sure whether it is better to give or receive......
‘I think I’m dead!’ Xander collapsed on the sofa and groaned, clutching his stomach. ‘Yes, definitely dead.’
‘Well, far be it for me to criticise, but you have just eaten the biggest Christmas dinner I have ever seen in all my hundreds of years of life, plus four plates of ice-cream and a large chocolate cake,’ said Anya, sitting next to him and ruining her nagging with a gentle burp.
‘That was a delicious meal, Buffy,’ Tara said warmly.
Willow nodded and flung herself down onto the rug in front of the fireplace. ‘I feel like one of those animals you see on wild-life films, a big snake or a lioness who’s just eaten an antelope or - ’ She stopped, aware of the horrified silence in the room. ‘Okay, big snake not a good comparison. But hey, full here! Brain not working quite so well.’
Buffy laughed. ‘I’m glad you all enjoyed it.’ It had been a good Christmas so far, except - she pushed the thought of Spike to one side. It had been a good Christmas, full stop. They’d eaten and drunk and laughed and told silly jokes.
Even Dawn had been happy, delighted with all her presents, and with the energy of the young, had skipped off to visit her friend Janice after the meal.
‘And if I’d invited Spike, it wouldn’t have been so happy,’ Buffy consoled herself. ‘He and Xander would have sniped at each other and there would have been a very non-Christmassy atmosphere, so I did completely the right thing in not inviting him. Anyway, he might have let slip about Lucy and Marianne, and I don’t think the others should know, just in case the police come round asking at some stage about missing babies!’
She switched on the TV and the room grew quieter as one by one they fell asleep, Willow and Tara curled up like puppies, Anya lying with Xander’s head on her lap. But Buffy couldn’t relax. She watched Jimmy Stewart on the screen, then flicked channels. The last thing she needed today was to listen to anything about angels!
She prowled round the house, putting away dishes, tidying, clearing a space on the top of her dressing-table for a couple of gifts Willow and Tara had given her. She changed out of her best Christmas outfit and pulled on a pair of jeans and an old lacy top. She had to go out and patrol.
She sat brushing her hair before tying it back in a tight knot. She hesitated, then pulled open the drawer where she kept her underwear. Right at the back was a small book shaped parcel. She pulled it out and sat holding it for a long minute.
It was a book of poetry she’d bought at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago. She‘d told herself if was a little Christmas present fo herself, or maybe she would send it to Giles, but she knew she was only pretending. She’d bought it for Spike.
But here it was, still in the house and Christmas Day was almost over. She bit her lip hard because in her head she could hear her mom’s reproachful voice saying, ‘you seem to have lost the spirit of Christmas, Buffy. Surely it‘s all about giving.’
Spike had given all he could to help Lucy and Marianne, or Pipsqueak as he insisted on calling the baby girl. He hadn’t waited to be asked, he’d just done what needed to be done.
Buffy gazed at her reflection in the mirror. She wasn’t behaving like the sort of daughter Joyce would have been proud of. She felt ashamed. She should have been brave enough to have done what Dawn wanted; invited Spike to have Christmas dinner with them. Xander and the others would have coped, one way or the other. And if they couldn’t - then that would have been their problem.
‘Well, he might not have come, anyway,’ she muttered. ‘He said he was going with Clem to a party. I’m sure he’ll be having a far better time there than sitting watching old movies on our TV.’
But she knew that if her mother had still been alive, she would have insisted Spike came round to share in their family Christmas celebrations. She’d have heated up his blood for him, cooked him spicy chicken wings, found out what sort of cake or ice-cream he liked best, even got some whisky for him to drink. There was no getting away from the fact - her mother had liked Spike, enjoyed his company.
‘I wonder what she would have said about me fancying him so much I get wet every time I’m near him,‘ Buffy whispered out loud.
But she already knew the answer. Joyce would have ignored the sex part of their relationship in that marvellous eyes-wide-open-but-not-looking way mothers have, even though their daughters and their lovers are sharing a bed under the same roof.
To Joyce, Spike wouldn’t have been the ideal partner for her daughter, but if he was Buffy’s choice, then so be it.
Buffy made a decision and sprang up. ‘I’ll just go up to the crypt and leave the parcel,’ she thought. ‘He won’t be back yet, if at all today. I can’t imagine any demon party finishing in less than two or three days! He’ll probably think it came from Dawn. I’ll mention it to her when she gets in. She’s got that T-shirt for him. We can say the poetry book is a little extra, from the Summers family, not just from me.’
Downstairs, the Scoobies were still fast asleep, the TV on low. Buffy scribbled, ‘Gone patrolling,’ on a scrap of paper and lodged it in Xander’s hand.
It was quite chilly for Sunnydale. The streets were empty, only the occasional car speeding past. Buffy stared into the brightly lit windows as she passed, envying the warmth and laughter that she heard, people who could stay together for the whole of Christmas Day and didn’t have to patrol round eerie graveyards, killing things.
A light mist drifted through the cemetery. One lone vampire, wearing a very fetching tinsel garland, leapt out from behind a tomb, determined to do battle. Buffy staked him without even breaking stride. “Nice decoration!’ she said admiringly as he dissolved.
When she reached Spike’s crypt, she hesitated. She knew he wasn’t there, but it felt odd going in on her own. It was still his home and although she’d kicked down the door many times, she’d always known he was inside, waiting for her, so that was different.
When he was away, it seemed like an invasion of privacy.
The door wasn’t locked. She smiled as she turned the handle. The last time she’d been here, Spike had locked it against the police and she’d found Lucy lying in the lower chamber, just about to give birth. But now the door swung open and she walked into the crypt, ready to leave the book on the first available surface and go home.
And she froze. The crypt wasn’t empty. Spike was lying back in a chair, fast asleep, a half empty whisky bottle on the ground at his side. He was dressed but might as well have been naked for the effect he had on her.
His feet were bare, and his red shirt was unbuttoned to the waist, as were the top buttons of his jeans. She could see dark hairs glinting against his pale skin where the denim parted and the recollection of the wiry rub of those curls against her made every nerve in her body stand up and shriek.
She gazed round. There were a couple of empty packets of pig’s blood on the table, cigarette packets scattered around - all empty. The TV was off and there was no sign of Clem, or any friends. She knew then that he’d lied. There had been no party, no Clem. He’d spent Christmas Day on his own, when he could have been with her and Dawn. And she also knew why. He’d known that Xander and Willow would be uncomfortable with him there, would make cheap jibes. He hadn‘t wanted her and Dawn to have an unhappy Christmas Day.
She was going to kill him!
In two strides she was at his side and hit him hard on his head with the poetry book.
‘Wake up, you stupid, blood-eating vampire. You, stupid’ - thud - ‘idiotic’ - whack - ’moron!’.
Spike yelled and slid to the floor, his arms up to cover the platinum hair that was being beaten into a tangled riot of curls. ‘Bloody hell, Slayer. What the soddin’ hell do you think - Oi - stop that. Stop it!’
He reached out and grabbed the book from her hand, tossing it to one side. She still beat at him with her fists until he grabbed them both in his hands and pulled her down on top of him. ‘I said stop it! What is this, beat up Spike for Christmas time? Have you run out of board games up at Casa Summers?’
‘You make me so mad!’ she hissed.
Spike growled as he felt her nipples stiffen beneath the lacy top and rub against his bare chest. ‘And randy?’ he murmured.
‘No!’ she yelled, trying to pull away, and wondering why she was kicking off her boots as she spoke and feverishly trying to grind her pelvis against his. ‘I’ve got no intention of ever having sex with you again, you idiot!’ she moaned and watched as her lying hands pulled his zipper all the way down, releasing a shaft of what she knew would feel like pure steel once it was safely buried inside her.
‘For heavens sake, shut up, Slayer,’ Spike snapped. ‘Stop talking and use your mouth for what it was intended!’ He pulled her closer, kissing the soft skin under her ear. ‘God, you taste so good. I’d like to lick you all over. In fact, I think that’s just what I will do!’
They rolled across the floor, each fighting to be on top. With a joyous smile, Buffy pretended to give in and let him win. She felt her jeans being ripped off and moaned in delight as he spread her legs wide with his own and then ran his tongue slowly up the soft skin on the inside of her thigh, licking as he went and thrust it inside her.
She arched off the floor, only his hands holding her down. He lifted his head, his lips smeared. ‘You taste marvellous. Sweet, like honey. Now beg!’ he whispered.
He bent his head back and flicked the sensitive nub of her clit, once, twice, three times with the tip of his tongue, then stopped.
‘Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop.’ That grating voice couldn’t belong to her. It was embarrassing, shaming, the need for what he, and only he, could give her.
‘Say, please, Spike, please make me come.’ His brilliant blue gaze bored into her eyes and she’d never hated him or loved him so much.
His mouth plunged down onto her nipple and his tongue swirled round it, licking until it was a hard rosy bud, until she could have screamed with the tension he was causing in her body. She didn’t care any more, she had to have him, had to come, had to break this incredible feeling that held her body rigid in anticipation,
‘Oh, please Spike. Pretty please. Do me, take me, anything, just make me come - oh God!’
Two, three fingers plunged into her, rubbing furiously. She’d never come so fast before. There was no time to think, speak, react; it was just violent sensations pulsing through her body, her muscles stiffening, rippling in great waves, her legs shaking as she parted them as far as they would go and screamed into his mouth that covered hers as she finally let go and roared into her climax.
She was still shuddering when he thrust inside her and it was just as she’d expected, a shaft of cold steel buried deep inside her. She tightened her muscles round it and grinned at the expression that crossed his face. Then there was no time to look or grin as thundering to his climax, he brought her to her second of the night, a burning, scalding delight that she hoped would never end.
When she came round, she was lying on the stone floor, her jeans jammed under her shoulders, Spike’s head pillowed on her stomach, the breath he didn’t need tickling the tangle of curls between her thighs.
‘Merry Christmas, Slayer,’ he murmured faintly. “Now are you going to tell me why you were hitting me?’
She traced the line of his jaw with her finger. ‘Why spend Christmas on your own? Why tell me you were going to a party with Clem? You could have come round to us. Dawn invited you.’
‘But you didn’t want me there, pet.’
‘I didn’t want you to be on your own,’ she whispered. ‘Not at Christmas.’
Spike sat up and looked at her. ‘You’re here now,’ he said simply.
Buffy sat up too, hugging her knees to her chin. ‘Does that count?’
Spike raised an eyebrow. ‘Bloody hell, don’t go all philosophical on me, Goldilocks.’
Buffy glared at him, then began pulling on her jeans, searching for the lace top, hoping above hope that it wasn’t in tatters, because going home without it was going to be mega embarrassing.
‘You off then, Slayer? What a surprise.’
She stood looking down at him. Didn’t he have any idea how much she wanted to stay? That with him everything was so simple and straightforward. She didn’t have to be cheerful and brave, if she didn’t want to be. Didn’t have to worry about money, lead the gang, kill demons, fret about people’s feelings. All she had to do with him was live.
‘Dawn will be home from Janice’s soon. I have to be there for her tonight. I’m sorry, Spike.’
He sighed, got up, pulled on his jeans. ‘Okay, I can live with that. There is no way I want to spoil Niblet’s Christmas.’ He pushed the hair back from her eyes: the band holding it up had long broken - and kissed her gently. ‘Hey, give her this, will you.’
He reached behind a stone bench and produced a carrier bag. ‘Little Christmas gift.’
‘She’ll be thrilled. Thank you.’ Buffy turned to go. ‘Oh, by the way, I was hitting you with yours!’ and she smiled as she slipped away.
She turned in the doorway to watch him busily tearing off the now battered wrapping paper from the poetry book, his whole face illuminated by pleasure.
For a second or two, the evil killer, the thing who she knew she should treat with disgust and disdain, looked like a little boy on Christmas Day, opening his parcels.
Buffy was still smiling at the expression on his face when she reached home. Somewhere a clock was striking midnight. Christmas Day was officially over for another year. She wondered what they’d all be doing next year. Would she even be alive then? Slayers learnt to live from day to day and she had no idea what tomorrow would bring.
Indoors, Dawn was home, chatting to the others. ‘Hey, Buffy. Good patrol? You look exhausted. Lots of vamps out tonight, I bet.’
‘Hey, Dawnie. Yes, enough. I - er - I bumped into Spike. He sent you this.’
‘Captain Peroxide has sent Dawn a present! Oh great. Probably someone’s entrails,’ said Xander peevishly.
Dawn pulled out a squashy parcel with a squeal and tore off the paper to find what Buffy considered a perfectly hideous shoulder bag, but which was obviously the very latest in fashion considering her sister’s exclamations of delight.
‘There’s another present,’ Anya said curiously.
Buffy pulled out a small round package. There was no label and it was wrapped in a plain brown bag.
‘Looks like Spike’s grocery shopping,’ Xander said with a laugh. ‘Well, he can just go without it, whatever it is, because you’re certainly not going back with it, Buffy, and nor is anyone else here.’
Buffy nodded absentmindedly, then pulled the paper off the second parcel. She turned away from the others and muttered something about going to bed, very tired, long patrol, goodnight.
She raced upstairs and threw herself on her bed. She lay there in the dark, waiting for the sounds of Xander and Anya leaving, Willow, Tara and Dawn coming upstairs, saying goodnight, whispering in case they disturbed her.
As the night fell silent, she listened for the sounds of boots scraping on the trellis outside her window, the creak of boots in her room, the scent of cigarette smoke and leather, and a whisper in her ear of, ‘Well. Slayer, have you any ideas of what to do with my gift?’
And she smiled. A jar of honey could go a long, long way.
With thanks for all the incredibly helpful advice from everyone and a very Merry Christmas to all American readers and a very Happy Christmas to British ones. See – I’m learning-as-I-go-girl!
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