Rating: PG
Words: 1178
Written For: chaoskir
Prompting Week:  3. Theme: Holiday
Prompt: "Christmas"
Disclaimer: The boys don't belong to me... and they never will. Sadly.
Summary: Spike remembers the snow ...
Note: Many thanks to the lovely skargasm who has taken over Beta-Reading my works.
Note 2: This little ficlet can be considered a sequel to "Unexpected Comfort". Somehow my muse loves chaoskir's ideas so much that she always tries to make them fitting.^^
Note 3: A small bit of self-pimping in here (something I don't usually do^^): If you read my stories and like and maybe you'd like to have one dedicated to you then leave your prompt at my journal.^^

Happy Christmas


Spike remembered the snow.

It's blinding whiteness and the freezing sensation on his skin. What he didn't miss though was the way his clothes were soaked at the end of the night. They would cling to him, chilling his body even more until he managed to rip them off in order to either dry them by a fire or leave them after changing into another set of clothes.

Dru had loved the wintry scenes just as much. It had always been a wonderful to watch her dance through the falling snow, her long dark hair a stark contrast to the whiteness covering the ground and her own pale skin. The smile she would wear could almost be called sane when she had her eyes closed and her head thrown back like a child trying to catch the snowflakes. Once she grew bored with that task though, she would glance over to him with her dark eyes twinkling and Spike always knew that his protests would either go unheard or ignored. Dru would take his hand and she would pull him closer, demanding a dance in the snow.

But that had been years ago and now the memory of snow was one that he treasured because snow was something that only a few of Sunnydale's inhabitants knew from their own experience. And from his own observations he knew that even fewer relished the cool whiteness. Spike would never admit it freely but he even missed the soaked clothes and the dances beneath the falling snow. If only to not feel so alone anymore.

Being on his own wouldn't have been so bad and it usually wasn't but Christmas Eve always reminded him of what he had lost. There was nowhere he could go to escape the cheers and Christmas carols, cheap and expensive decorations. Not even in the demon part of town. It seemed that the time of Christmas was all-encompassing and nothing and no-one could escape.

Taking a look around the room from his spot on the stairs he sighed at the – admittedly tasteful – decorations the watcher and the witches had done. The feelings for the holiday was there and yet it wasn't overbearing. There was no tree or anything of that size but there were branches of evergreen and holly, an understated combination of green and red. Crystal bulbs hung from the lamps, always in groups of three – one green, one red and one golden. Candles were giving up a nice and gentle glow, with only the slightest scent of cinnamon and rosemary.

The big table that was usually used for research bowed under the onslaught of presents. He had no idea who had bought and wrapped all those parcels and didn't particularly care but the unease he felt was growing. Somewhere in that vast amount of cheerful wrapping paper were a few very small boxes, messily wrapped and with an askew bow. The need to grab them and run threatened to overcome Spike though it was only for a moment. He didn't expect to get anything from them but he hoped that they would at least appreciate the thought since nothing he had chosen as a present was of a particular worth. They merely reminded him of the people he more or less called his family – even though there was only one of them talking to him.

The one who was currently coming closer to Spike's solitary spot holding two mugs of steaming hot chocolate in his hands. It had become a habit of sorts. Ever since that one night Xander would prepare hot chocolate for the two of them whenever the evening threatened to become far longer than expected. Sometimes there would be little marshmallows swimming on top, sometimes whipped cream and on the nights that promised to be especially gruesome Spike could make out the faint scent of Scotch in his mug.

Xander never asked, he merely smiled and sat down beside him. Together they would watch, always the observers from the outside. Not close enough to be within the inner-circle but not far enough away to be completely unaffected. Both of them hung somewhere in the middle.

The evening moved on slowly and it became apparent to Spike that the rest of the group had forgotten about him and Xander being in the same room. They were joking and laughing – even the watcher seemed to have unbent enough to accompany a few Christmas carols with his guitar. The scene would have been cheerful to everyone looking into the room. But to Spike it was another piece of evidence that he wasn't welcome here. Not once had the group looked around to see where Xander was or if he himself was still there.

Disappointment and silent acceptance was all he could currently smell from the young man that sat so close to him. Moving a little closer, both to gain more warmth and to show a bit of companionship, Spike kept his gaze locked on the scene in front of him.

The girls were opening some of the presents already since they wouldn't be able to meet until after the holidays. Wrapping paper soon covered the floor around the table and the laughter and “Thank you”s floated over to Spike and Xander. The pile shrank rapidly until only a few small parcels remained. Amongst them were the small boxes containing a tiny piece of hope from Spike.

They seemed to hesitate and Spike's heart sunk with each passing minute until Buffy reached out and took one of the small boxes. Turning it around a few time she looked over to him, frowned and dropped the box onto the pile of wrapping paper that was meant for the dustbin. She hadn't even opened it.

Spiked closed his eyes to stop the onslaught of dejection and humiliation that rose in his chest. He felt the tell-tale prickle of unwanted tears beneath his lids and swallowed dryly. After a moment he felt a strong, warm hand on his shoulder. It lasted only a mere second but it eased the ache a bit. Opening his eyes Spike watched as Xander rose and walked over to the table. It seemed that the presents meant for him were the only ones left. Doing everything to tune out the excited babble of the girls he watched as the dark-haired man reached out and took only two parcels from the table.

One was wrapped in burgundy paper and one was covered in cheerful Santas on a green background. The remaining presents were ignored as were the outraged demands for explanations, the confused questions and the threatening glances in Spike's direction. Xander kept his eyes on him and Spike felt the ache in his chest ease even more. It seemed that the companionship he had felt between them had grown even stronger.

It didn't matter what Xander might have chosen as a present because the fact that his present had been accepted was enough for Spike. For the first time in years he didn't feel alone on Christmas.

The End

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