The Road to Sex, Lies, and Duct Tape


by
Bytemi66



Part Twenty-One

Spike woke up with an over-exuberant Xander bouncing up and down on the bed.

“Wake up, Spike! It’s Christmas!”

The vampire rolled over onto his back, slapped a hand over his eyes and groaned. “What time is it?”

“Eight a.m.!” Bounce, bounce.

Spike groaned again. They hadn’t left the Slayer’s until after midnight, then patrolled. Patrol had been largely unsuccessful, most likely due to Xander’s insistence that they sing Christmas carols the entire bloody time. That’s it. No more sugar or caffeine for his boy after eight p.m. They should’ve cut off the redhead then, too. Both of them had been drinking so many mochas and eating so much sugar it was like watching a movie on fast-forward.

They had gotten home from patrolling around two and then messed around until four. He’d thought that Xander would still be crashing. Where did his boy get the energy?

“Sweetness, is there any chance that I could get you to snuggle down and get a few more hours kip?”

“Come on, Spike,” Xander wheedled. “Please? Pretty please with a blow job on top?”

Spike gave in. No more sleep was going to be had. “When you put it that way, pet.”

“Yes!” Xander exclaimed, bouncing on the mattress a couple more times for good measure.

“Jus’ go and make some coffee, eh, luv? Gimme a couple mo’ to have a fag and wake up a bit?” Spike groped the bedside table for his cigarettes and lighter as Xander bounded out of the room. After he lit up and took a fortifying drag, he realized that there was something digging into his arse. He rolled to the left, reached under, and pulled out a sticky red bow. Oh yeah, that’s where that got to. He rolled to the right and pulled the green one off the other cheek.

Spike stumbled into the living room a few minutes later, sucking on a second cigarette and scratching his left arse cheek. Damn bow had itched. As soon as he sat on the couch, Xander thrust two mugs at him. One with a very nice AB negative, the other with mocha. He tossed back the thankfully not-too-hot mocha and held the mug out for a refill. It was too bloody early for a vamp to be up without caffeine. He didn’t get as much of a jolt from it as humans did, but it did seem to help a bit. Especially when you’d gotten very little sleep and had a hyper lover over one hundred years your junior.

He sipped at the really bloody fantastic blood and by the time he had knocked back his third mocha, he felt alert enough to form coherent sentences.

“Thanks, Xan. Happy Christmas, luv.” He looked up and realized that Xander was wearing pajamas that had puppies and kittens in Santa hats all over them. Christ on a crutch. How in the hell do people find such fucking god-awful pajamas in sizes for adult men? Kids and chits he could almost understand, but adult men? He sighed inwardly. What doesn’t dust us makes us stronger. When he looked into his lover’s beautiful smiling face, he couldn’t help but smile back.


~*~*~*~*~


Less than an hour later, Xander surveyed the mound of torn paper and ribbons on the floor while he snuggled with Spike on the couch. They had each gotten the other several presents. Xander had received a leather jacket, a couple of DVDs, a gift certificate to Comic World, and a CD of Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits.

Spike had received a beautiful, heavy silver chain, a wicked looking Bowie knife with a mother of pearl handle, a soft, slate blue sweater Xander insisted would bring out his eyes, and a book about the most infamous serial killers throughout history, complete with crime scene pictures.

But there were also an especially special gift from each of them. Spike was holding his new ring between his fingers and watching it sparkle in the light. Xander had it designed according to his specifications. It was a medium-weight sterling ring formed to look like a railroad spike curved around the finger. It was diamond-cut, so it sparkled in the light. Spike was reading the inscription, over and over. It said, simply, “Always, X.”

“Do you like it?” Xander whispered in his love’s ear.

Spike reached around and kissed him gently. “I’ll always wear it. Always, Xan.”

“Always, Spike,” Xander breathed with reverence.

“Did you like the book?” Spike asked worriedly, despite Xander’s initial delighted surprise at the gift.

“God, yes, baby. Read it to me?”

“What, now?”

“The last one, the one you wrote for me? Please?” Xander couldn’t believe the present. It was a beautiful, hand-tooled leather-bound book. The book was full of poems. Spike’s poems, or more correctly, William’s. All in his lover’s beautiful, looping script. He had handwritten each himself.

Inside the cover, he had written ‘For my beloved Alexander’. Just seeing it written made him tingle, but what was even better was the very last poem, simply titled ‘My Xander’. Spike had written this for him and it was the most precious gift he could have ever received.

Spike seemed a bit embarrassed, yet Xander could tell that he was happy and relieved that the book had been so well-received.

Spike swallowed. God, if only his boy had known how hard it was to write again. How much paper had been tossed, how many rhymes had been discarded. ‘Effulgent/a bulge in it’ was fucking Shakespeare when compared with ‘heart-a-flutter/peanut butter’. He opened the old book. It was his original poetry journal, the one he kept to put his finished works in. He’d never shown it to anyone other than his mother…until Xander. He turned the fragile pages until he came to the last poem. He began to read.


~*~*~*~*~


They arrived at the house on Revello with goofy post-coital grins on their faces and laden down with fancy bow-covered, foil-wrapped boxes and gift bags. To their surprise, Tara answered the door.

“Tara! Merry Christmas!” Xander exclaimed.

She smiled shyly and stepped back to give them room to drag in their packages. She was somewhat surprised when Spike put the packages down, picked up her hand, and kissed it. “Hello, Petal.” The shy smile broadened at Spike’s unexpected gesture.

After Xander had put down his burdens as well, he leaned forward and asked quietly, “So…you and Will?”

“W-we’re trying. Going slow.”

“That’s wonderful, Tara. Hey! I’m so glad you’re here! Santa left a present for a certain blonde witch at our house and we just happened to bring it with us. Go figure.”

The rest of the girls spilled forth from the kitchen and arranged the presents under the tree, Dawn making sure to shake hers a little to try and guess what they were. Eventually, she gave up and went back in the kitchen. Xander’s eye was caught by an absolutely huge packing box against the wall by the tree.

“What’s in the box?” he asked, pointing.

“Didn’t I tell you?” Willow queried with a tilt of her head.

“Nope.”

“It came from England a couple days ago. It’s from Anya and Giles. It says ‘Do not open till Xmas’. She sent along a note.”

“What’s it say, Red?” Spike questioned as he flopped himself down in the armchair and put his boots up on the coffee table.

She made a little gesture that Spike should get his boots off the table and plucked an envelope off the mantle. Spike rolled his eyes and complied.

Willow cleared her throat and began. “Dear Scoobies, Rupy and I are having a very wonderful time traveling. I didn’t realize that there was so much to see when you aren’t giving an unfaithful man pustules on his penis or making his testicles so large that he must carry them around in a wheelbarrow.” Willow paused for breath and both men crossed their legs and grimaced.

“I have also greatly enjoyed spending Rupy’s money. I suppose it’s our money now. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Our money. Anyway, in the spirit of Christmas and capitalism, and since Rupy says we have to, we have decided to spend some of our hard-earned money on you.

“Although I am quite disappointed that Rupy would not allow me to purchase vibrating rubber penises for everyone, I have enclosed presents from both of us in this box, plus a few stocking stuffers I’m sure can be enjoyed by all.”

“Since we are traveling so much, it will be hard for you to send us presents, so I have enclosed an address to which you may send them. I look forward to returning to London to open all the expensive, thoughtful presents that the over-commercialized, capitalistic holiday season demands that you send to me. Cash is always appropriate, as well.

“Do not forget that Rupy and I will be married in just a few short weeks. I’m registered for many lovely things at Harrods. Remember that Christmas presents do not count as wedding presents. You have to buy us both. Love, Anya.

“P.S., Tell Buffy not to mark down the vultures’ intestine more than twenty-five percent after Christmas. It may primarily be used in spells for the New Year, but it’s also handy to keep around and will keep fresh as long as she makes sure to store it properly.

“P.P.S Give Binky a hug from me.” Willow looked up from the letter. “Binky?”

“It’s the nickname she gave the cash register. She gave names to everything she really, really liked. Please don’t ask me what she nicknamed my penis…and I so can’t believe I just said that.”

Spike chuckled evilly and vowed to find out just what that nickname was after they got home. When Willow went back in the kitchen to baste, Spike got up and straddled Xander’s lap. “Well fancy that, luv. Mistletoe.”

“I don’t see any…”

“Just shut up and go with it, Xan,” he whispered seductively against his lover’s slightly parted lips before he captured them with his own.

As they parted, Xander breathed out on a sigh, “My god, baby. That was so wonderful, I’m hearing bells.”

Spike chuckled. “That’s someone at the front door, you git,” he said fondly as he sat on Xander’s lap.

Willow bustled from the kitchen to get the front door. “Would it kill you to get the front door, Spike?”

“’M busy.”

“Uh huh. I can see that,” she said, mock-glaring at them as she opened the door and put a smile on her face. When she turned to the guests on the front porch she said the last thing anyone expected to hear. “Angel?”





Part Twenty-Two

"C-come in," Willow said, shell-shocked, and stood there as they all piled through the door. Angel came in first carrying a diaper bag, two suitcases, and what looked like a portable playpen. He was followed closely by Cordelia carrying a sleeping baby, a tall black man with a shaved head and an attitude holding a couple of shopping bags, and Wesley, his arms laden with books and what looked like a stuffed Barney and a pack of Huggies. The last one through the door was a petite girl with long, brown hair and a wide, innocent grin carrying another suitcase and a sleeping bag. In other words…it was surreal.

While people filed in from the front porch and rushed in from the kitchen, Xander could feel Spike go completely tense in his arms. Buffy and Angel's gazes were locked. You could have cut the tension with a chainsaw. Everyone else tensed for their reactions.

Angel finally broke the silence. "Buffy, I, uh, that is, we had to get out of L.A. for awhile. I was hoping we could stay here? Just for tonight. All the hotels are full, and the mansion is no place for a baby."

"Uh. O-okay. Sure," the petite blonde stuttered out, obviously still shocked.

While the group from L.A. put down their burdens, Spike got up from Xander's lap slowly. No one but Xander and Dawn took any notice.

"Well, well, well, Peaches. No room at the inn?"

"Spike," Angel said with contempt.

Xander got up quickly to stand behind his lover and put his hands on Spike's waist.

Angel amended his statement. "Spike and Xander?"

Cordy looked on with mild surprise. "So. Xander. Gay now, huh? Thought you looked like you were dressing better. It's nice to see you in something that doesn't look like Jimmy Buffet imploded."

"Thanks, Cor. When did you have a baby? I didn't even know you were pregnant."

"Connor isn't my son…he's Angel's."

After a moment, the whole room erupted.

"Bloody hell!"

"You had a baby?"

"How could you have a baby?"

"Who'd you knock up, Deadboy?"

"Is the baby human?"

"Bloody hell!"

"When did this happen?"

"I thought vampires shot blanks."

"Who's the mother?"

"He's cute! What's his name again?"

"Bloody hell!"

All the noise and shouting came to a halt when Buffy heaved a gut-wrenching sob and ran up the stairs. The only sounds to be heard were the recording of Bing Crosby singing 'White Christmas' and the crying of a rudely awakened baby.

"Impeccable timing as always, Angelus," Spike commented, sneering.


~*~*~*~*~


After the slamming of Buffy's bedroom door and Angel going out on the back porch to brood, Cordy and Wes explained everything. The black guy, who introduced himself as Gunn, and the skinny girl, Fred, set up the playpen in the corner and Connor was busy slobbering on a soft toy. Apparently, Wolfram & Hart decided to stir up some trouble and they needed to get out of town for awhile and regroup.

Realizing they needed to make the best of a bad situation, Xander got up and slapped his hands together. "Well! It's Christmas. The more the merrier. Will? Have you cooked for the invisible army as usual, or do I need to make a food run?"

Willow rallied along with her friend. "Darn tootin' we've got enough," she said with determination.

"Great! Dawnie, could you bunk with Buff tonight so Cordy can have your room?"

"Sure, Xan. I'll go up and change the sheets." She ran up the stairs to get things ready and to check on Buffy.

"Coolness. Fred? Since you're the only one who brought a sleeping bag, do you mind sleeping on the floor in Dawn's room with Cordy?"

"That's just fine!" Fred exclaimed with her Texas drawl, apparently thrilled to be included in anything.

"Willow, are there still a couple of cots in the spare room?"

"You betcha. "If you guys can bring them down, I can set them up down here later. There's really no room in the spare room…it's full of boxes. Joyce's things," she said a little sadly.

"Alrighty then. Between the two cots and the couch that should cover you guys. Let's put the baby stuff in Dawnster's room and get everyone settled, okay? I'll stay down here and watch the little guy…the baby, too."

Spike gave him a quick glare.

After everyone left the room to go on their appointed tasks, Xander wiped a hand over his face and knelt down next to the playpen.

"It's funny to think that such a little guy can cause so much of a fuss." He put his finger through the bars and Connor grasped it and held on tight. "Whoa. Little guy's got quite the grip." He smiled at the baby happily uttering nonsense syllables and making gurgle-y noises. "Spike, can you watch the baby for a sec? I want to have a word with the selfish, self-important prick on the back porch." He turned back to the baby, smushed up his face and said in a silly voice while crossing his eyes, "Your daddy's a dickhead, yes he is, yes he is, yes he is!"

"You must be joking, pet."

"No, Angel really is a dickhead."

Spike sighed. "No, you git. About me watching the little canapé, there."

Xander turned back to Spike. "Geez, Spike. All you have to do is watch him and make sure he's okay. Someone should be down any minute," he complained, pushing out his lower lip. "And no fair pulling out the French. You know what that does to me."

"Alright, alright, pet. Don't pout. You'll just have to make it up to me later."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander started speaking as soon as the screen door shut behind him. "Ya know, Angel. You really ought to stop brooding long enough to pull your head out of your own ass every once in a while."

"What do you want, Xander?" Angel asked tiredly.

"Do you have any idea what you just did to Buffy?"

"I know this must hurt her."

"Duh. That's like, a major understatement."

"Boy, I really do not need a lecture from someone who has the bad judgment to be screwing Spike."

Xander harrumphed. "Jealous, Deadboy? Spike's way prettier than Darla."

"Look-"

"No. Shut the hell up. Joyce died less than a year ago. Buffy came back from the dead just a few months ago. Buffy has been a ghost of her former self and she keeps getting worse. Now, she just learned that the love of her life has been bumping uglies someone else, and somehow managed to knock her up. Showing up here with a very real reminder of what she can never have with you. And, instead of keeping everyone informed of what's going on in a timely fashion so we can have time to deal, you decide to dump the entire thing on her head on Christmas. Way to show the love, you insensitive asshole. Now who has the bad judgment?"

"I didn't think-"

"No, you didn't. I suggest you start. Like now."


~*~*~*~*~


When they went back in the house they found everyone staring at Spike who was giving Connor a belly-raspberry. Connor was squealing with happiness. Dawn took a picture.

"Cute little bugger. Looks nothin' like you. Sure he's yours?"

"That's enough, Spike," Angel said dryly, as he took Connor into his arms.

Everyone looked up as Buffy came down the stairs slowly and walked over to Angel and the baby. Her eyes were red and puffy. She looked up at them and said in a quiet voice, "He's beautiful, Angel."

"Thanks, Buffy. Would you like to hold him?"

Pain flashed across her features and Xander heard Spike mutter, "Insensitive, bog-trotting bastard."

"No, thanks. Maybe later. I think I'll help Willow with dinner, excuse me."


~*~*~*~*~


Dinner started out rather uncomfortably, but Connor was such a happy baby that the happiness seemed to spread. This kid certainly had not inherited the brood gene. Dawn had gotten her old high chair out of the spare room and Connor was sitting in it and banging a plastic spoon on the tray. He had a round cherub face covered in mashed banana and was loudly proclaiming, "Bah, bah, bah, bah, bah!"

Spike was making faces at the baby. Xander thought that he was probably only doing it to irk Angel, but he had to admit it was pretty cute. Spike vamped out and crossed his eyes and wiggled his fingers and Connor giggled. Angel glowered at them while he wiped the banana off his baby's face.

The dinner began to improve. Who can be melancholy around a giggling baby? Willow had outdone herself in the kitchen as usual and everything was delicious. The tension began to melt as old friends talked and new friends got to know each other. Buffy, to her credit, managed to be pleasant, if rather quiet. When everyone finally reached their limit, Dawn bounced up and asked, "Is it time for presents now?"

They all got up and piled into the living room around the tree. Xander sat on the floor by the tree and Spike sat next to him and curled his palm around his boy's knee. Dawn plopped down close to Spike. Buffy, Willow, and Tara, sat on the couch, and Wes and Cordy each took a chair. Fred sat on the arm of Cordy's chair and Angel stood and brooded in the corner, softly patting the baby's back where he rested against a bulky, black-clad shoulder. Gunn brought in a chair from the dining room and straddled it, crossing his arms and resting them on the back of the chair.

Dawn began to hand out presents. The girls got clothing, perfume, jewelry, and such. Willow got Xander a boxed collection of Cole Porter songs on CD sung by artists like Lena Horne and Nat King Cole. Xander loved them. It made him think about taking Spike home and dancing with him in the living room by candlelight.

Spike handed Tara the special gift that he and Xander had special-ordered for her. It was a beautiful elegant pentagram in white, yellow, and rose gold. Somehow ornate, yet simple and delicate, and it dangled from a silver chain. She gasped when she opened it up.

Spike was obviously pleased that she liked it, but in typical big-bad fashion, downplayed the whole thing. Xander's huge grin spoke for both of them.

Dawn got Spike a blooming onion maker so he could have his favorite even though the Bronze had discontinued it. Willow gave him his very own tin of oatmeal scotchies.

Dawn pounced on the final wrapped package. "This has to be from Spike!"

"How'd you know that, Bit?"

"Who else would wrap a Christmas present in black paper?"

"Got me there, Dawn."

Spike tried to hide his nervousness. He was less than thrilled about Paingel and company being here to see this. Plus, what if his girl didn't like it?

Dawn ripped open the paper and threw it behind her. She opened the small cardboard box and squealed. "Spike! It's beautiful!" She pulled out an antique silver locket decorated with small aquamarines and seed pearls with a trembling hand, her eyes wide as saucers. She scooted over on her knees to where Spike was sitting on the floor. "Would you put it on me?"

Spike took the locket from her hands with a gentle smile. She lifted her hair so he could reach around and fasten it around her neck. She grabbed him and held on.

"It was my Mum's," he whispered in her ear, no longer really giving a toss whether the broody pillock heard or not. "I figured it should be kept in the family, pet."

Dawn turned her head, kissed his cheek, and said a heartfelt, oh-so-quietly whispered, "Thank you, Daddy."

When Dawn finally sat back down, now next to Spike, everyone was staring at them. Xander, Willow, and Tara with an 'aww' expression and Cordy, Gunn, and Wesley with an 'eww' expression. Angel had a definite 'grrr' expression. Buffy really had no expression at all.

"Well!" Willow exclaimed. "Time to dig into the big box!" She got up from the armchair that she and Tara where sharing and went over to the enormous cardboard box. "Xander? Can you give me a hand?"

Xander popped up and helped her hand out all the presents. After all the current Scoobies had a package, she looked into the bottom. "Xander, there's still those stocking stuffers that Anya mentioned in her letter. She said they could be enjoyed by everyone and I feel kinda oogie about opening all these presents and not having any for the others. Do you think it'd be okay to give them to them?" she babbled quietly.

"Yeah, sure. I mean, how bad could they be? They're from both her and Giles…and I just totally jinxed us didn't I?"

Willow just nodded nervously then shrugged.

"I'll pass them out," Xander offered. He gathered them into his arms and began to pass them out. "Um, here guys. Anya and Giles sent extra presents and since you are all joining us here tonight, we'd really like for you to have them. Merry Christmas." Xander gave each one of the A.I. gang a package and sat down.

They began to take turns opening them and Wes gestured for the Scoobies to go first. When Buffy got a beautiful vintage lace blouse from Brussels and a hand-painted silk scarf, the locals, who were in 'the know' about Anya gifts, heaved a mostly silent sigh of relief. Except for Spike. He was rooting for an 'Anya Special'. Giles had enclosed a note, but Buffy just shook her head when asked what it said and clutched it hard in her right hand.

Willow went next. She got a full, colorful skirt that Giles said had been embroidered by gypsies in Hungary and a large, multifaceted crystal that he said was not magical, but could help her gain focus and strength.

Tara got a blouse and vest similar to Willow's skirt and a small book on herbs, blushing the entire time it took to open them because everyone's attention was on her.

Both Red and Petal were thrilled with the embroidered clothing, and wanted to try them on immediately. Spike couldn't contain himself. He just had to comment. "I suggest not trying on the gypsy garb right now, ducks. Peaches might get peckish."

Angel flinched slightly. Score one for the Big Bad.

Dawn got a barrette carved from seashells that the couple had found in Spain and an intricate jewelry box from Germany that played music and had a couple that danced when you opened the lid. That got the Dawn squeal of approval. But not as big a squeal as the locket, Spike noted to himself with satisfaction. He noticed she kept touching it and holding it up to look at it.

Xander tore into his present next. He was just happy it wasn't in another damn rainbow gift bag. "Chocolate!" He proceeded to pull out a Swiss chocolate bar - big enough to beat a warthog to death with…and hugged it.

"Xan, I think there's something else in there," Spike commented next to Xander. No response. "Xander? You can put the chocolate down now, luv."

"Huh?"

"Chocolate. Down."

"Oh. Okay," Xander said, reluctantly releasing the chocolate and looking in the bottom of the package. It was two silk shirts. One in a deep plum, the other in a dark burgundy. He held one up.

"That will look great with your complexion. I would not be embarrassed to be seen with you in public if you wore that shirt," Cordy pointed out. She tilted her head appraisingly as another thought entered her mind and thus, exited her mouth. "You know, if you were gay in high school and dressed more like you do now, I wouldn't have been as humiliated to be involved with you and we could have spent a lot more time outside of the storage closet."

Xander blinked at the incongruity and the emasculating, yet somehow complimentary, statement. "Thanks, Cor."

It was Spike's turn to open his present. He was rather surprised that he had received one. Not so much because of the ex-demon chit as due to the seething hatred between himself and the Watcher. He opened the package. There was good English tea, biscuits, jars of lemon curd and clotted cream, and a few other British goodies. He was surprised. He picked up the enclosed note and read it silently. "Willow told me what happened with Xander. This is a peace offering of sorts. Thus far, you seem to have proved relatively adequate as a partner for Xander. For his sake, and yours, do not disappoint me." Huh. It was more than he had expected from the bookman. Quite nice, considerin'. He shrugged to himself and looked down, seeing something else under the tissue paper.

He pulled up the paper and grinned. Anya. Had to be.

"What is it?" Xander asked.

Spike got an evil smirk on his face and held the present up. Everyone stared. Some gasped. Others averted their eyes. A quiet, Texan voice squeaked out, "Good heavens!"

It was a pair of black leather bikini underwear with a gap in the front for 'display purposes' and, of all things, a zipper in the back for 'easy' access. The leather was soft and supple - lambskin. Oh, he and his boy were going to have some fun with these. He looked down at the included note from Anya.

"Anya said she saw them in Italy and thought of us, luv."

"Great," Xander squeaked.

The evil glint was back in Dawn's eyes. "Hey, Spike. That'll be great when you and Xan want to perform an-"

Spike whipped his head around and cut her off with a glare. "Nibblet. I'm over one hundred. Believe me when I say that if I put my mind to it I will find that chastity belt if you finish that sentence."

Dawn huffed and crossed her arms, but everyone could tell that she just had fun pushing Spike's buttons.

Spike leaned over and whispered in Xander's ear and his hand inched up the inside of his warm, jean-clad thigh. "Ever had clotted cream or lemon curd, luv? Tastes brilliant on crumpets. I can think of other things that it might taste nice on. Perhaps a snack later, Sweetness? Hmm?" He nipped at his boy's neck. Xander made a little whimpery-grunting noise which he took as a 'yes'.

Spike sat back, eager to see the other presents now that he knew that Rupert hadn't held Anya back entirely.





Part Twenty-Three

Xander squirmed a little after Spike’s suggestion. All of a sudden, he was rather eager to get home. He draped his new shirt over his lap to hide his reaction. What was clotted cream anyway? Lemon curd? They didn’t sound all that tasty, but he could think of a lot of things to spread them on that did taste nice. Shirt didn’t seem to be much camouflage. Maybe he should put the chocolate bar over his lap, too.

The young man looked over at the folks from L.A. and felt a little bad. Cordy, Gunn, Wes, and Fred had explained everything that happened. It had been rough. And when you add a baby in the mix… Okay. Now he felt like King Ca Ca of Turd Mountain. Of course the guy’s first priority is gonna be his kid. Just…damn. Angel’s timing did suck. Sucked like a shop-vac. And he should know…and that even sounded dirty in his head.

But it was the little guy’s first Christmas and they were forced to take off in a hurry. It looks like they were able to bring toys ‘n stuff for him, at least. His reverie was interrupted when he noticed that it was time to open the gifts Anya had sent. Oh, yes. This ought to be good.

Wesley’s eyes got huge when he opened his present. “Oh, my.”

“Whatcha got there, Wes?” Xander asked affably. He couldn’t help it; he just enjoyed watching Wesley’s feathers get ruffled. Perhaps evil was contagious. Spike was definitely rubbing off on him…in all the right places.

“I, um, I’m not quite certain.”

“Well, then, whip it out and let’s have a look-see,” Spike commented with a smirk.

Wes held up the package reluctantly. Spike reached over and covered Dawnie’s eyes.

“I believe they are, uh, anatomically correct chocolates?” Wes explained in a rather strangled voice.

Gunn snickered.

Wesley turned to Gunn. “Well then, Charles. What did you get?” he asked tetchily and they began to bicker back and forth.

Dawn took the opportunity to ask, “Spike? Are you gonna take your hands off my eyes anytime soon? I already saw the leather underwear. And eww, by the way. I don’t think penis-shaped chocolate is gonna scar my fragile, teenaged psyche.”

“No.”

Spike! “

“Alright. But you’ve gotta promise to cover ‘em up yourself if I say so,” the vampire said while he pulled his hands away from her eyes reluctantly.

That earned him a teenaged eye-roll and a grudging, “Okay, okay already. Geez.”

Xander had to smile at their antics. It was obvious to him how close they had become. He wondered what Buffy thought of that. But when he looked over, he realized that her mind was definitely on other things tonight besides her sister’s close relationship with a chipped vampire.

Xander had to ask. “Um, Charles?”

Gunn looked up and said, “Don’t, man. Just don’t.”

“Okey dokey then, Gunn. What did you get, huh? Let’s not keep the room in suspense.”

“Quite right, Xander,” Wes agreed smugly.

Gunn opened the package and somehow paled. His mouth opened and shut. Then opened again. “I…uh. Thanks,” he offered, stunned.

“Well?” Willow asked.

“Yeah, Charles, what is it?” Cordy asked smirking back at him when he glared at her for the ‘Charles’.

“It’s flrdcndmz,” he muttered.

“Huh?” said Cordy.

“I second that ‘huh?’ and raise you a ‘say what?’” quipped Xander. He was thoroughly enjoying someone else squirming in embarrassment from on of Anya’s presents. It was a refreshing change.

Gunn took a fortifying breath and announced, “Flavored condoms.”

“Oh. W-w-well that’s nice. A-and useful. Safety first!” Willow commented blushing mightily. Fred’s blushing won out, though.

Spike snickered. “Well, princess. It looks like it’s your turn.”

Cordy shrugged and opened her gift. “Oh. It’s a ladybug. With…straps?”

“Close your eyes and cover your ears, Nibblet.”

“You never said anything about ears!”

Spike glared at her and she complied.

Cordy’s puzzled expression changed as her inner light bulb went on. She held it up. “Oh! Cool.”

All three of the A.I. guys looked uncomfortable. “Cordy…,” Angel began.

“Oh, hush. It’s not like I have time to actually date between demons and diapers. And I guarantee you it’ll put me in a much better mood. I’ll have to send Anya a thank you card. I wonder what size batteries this takes?”

Xander was blushing as he said, “Look in the bottom of the box. Anya always remembers batteries. Or an AC adaptor. There may even be some KY in there…and dear god, will someone please shut me up?”

Cordelia indeed found them in the bottom. “Go, Anya. I’ve never even met this girl and I like her already.”

Spike tapped Dawn’s knee to indicate she could uncover when Cordy put the clitoral stimulator back in the box.

Fred knew she was next. She had a deer-in-headlights expression. She swallowed hard. “M-mah turn?”

Xander felt kinda bad. She was just so nice. But what could he do, take it away from her? Who knows? Maybe she’d actually like it. Cordy had.

“Oh look! It’s a sleep-mask. I could really use this. Thanks.” It was leopard print with fuzzy black trim.

No one quite had the heart to tell her it was a blindfold, but Cordelia helpfully added, “I think there’s something else in there.

Eagerly she dug back in and came up with…fun-fur lined restraints. “Wh-what are these?” she asked.

Cordy leaned over and whispered in her ear. “What? Oh, my. I-I…thank you kindly, I’m sure,” the little Texan stuttered out. Politeness winning over shock. She blushed strongly. Everyone’s eyes swung over to Angel.

Despite Xander’s contrition at coming down on Angel on the back porch, he had to admit he couldn’t wait to see what was in the present and from the unrestrained anticipatory glee in Spike’s eyes, neither could he.

Cordy put out her hands for the baby and prompted Angel. “Okay, Angel. It’s your turn.”

Huh, thought Xander. It looks like Spike wasn’t the only one with anticipatory glee in their eyes. Cordy certainly had her fair share, too.

Angel was understandably reluctant, but handed Connor off to Cordelia and tried to put a smile on his face. It looked painful. He opened the present. “Oh. Uh. Look…it’s-it’s…”

“Spit it out already.” Cordy blurted.

Angel held them up. Edible underwear. A three-pack. Cherry-flavored.

A group snicker began to go through the room. Even Buffy’s lips turned up at that one.

Spike stage-whispered to Xander, “No one’s that hungry, pet. Have you seen the size of that arse?”

Xander bit down on the inside of his cheek in a vain attempt to stifle the laughter that was threatening to bubble forth. He prayed that Spike would stop there. He prayed in vain.

“I mean, he should have ‘In case of emergency this arse can be used as a floatation device’ tattooed on it as a ruddy public service announcement.”

Xander lost the battle and laughed out loud. And kept laughing. One by one, they all fell; each joined in. Buffy gave in and laughed. Really laughed for the first time in weeks. It was great to see.

“My ass is not that big, Spike,” Angel stated dryly. All he did was cause another wave of laughter.

When the giggles eventually wound down, Willow got up, wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes and announced that she was going to set up desserts in the dining room. Tara got up to help her. After apple pie and chocolate Yule log, everyone started to yawn and began preparations to retire for the evening.

Buffy had done a quick patrol before the Christmas festivities began and Angel offered to do a quick sweep before turning in. Buffy said a quick ‘thank you’ before she climbed the stairs to her room. She came back down a couple moments later and handed something to Angel. It was Mr. Gordo. She handed him to Angel.

“Here. I’m sorry how I reacted earlier, Angel. I-it was a surprise. But, it’s Christmas and it would mean a lot to me if I could give this to Connor.” Buffy was obviously uncomfortable. It had been a rough night for her.

“Buffy, are you sure?”

“Absolutely. He is beautiful, Angel. Really. I want him to have it. Please.”

“Thank you,” Angel said simply and enveloped Buffy in a hug. He held her for a few minutes, kissed the top of her head, released her, and then whispered, “Good night.”

Buffy smiled shakily, turned, and climbed the stairs.





Part Twenty-Four

When Angel stepped off the front porch to go patrol, Xander came out of the front door. “Angel?”

Angel heaved a sigh of the oft-oppressed and turned around. “Haven’t we already gone over this?”

Xander’s sneakers slapped against the wooden stairs as he came down towards the vampire. “Nope. Entirely new subject. Sort of. I think you’ll like it. It’s an apology. It’s the new, hip thing to do.”

Angel looked a little surprised, to say the least. “Apology?”

“Yeah. Look, Cordy and the others told me all about it. I’m sorry. It sounds like it’s been rough. Connie…”

“Connor.”

“Whatever. Anyway, he should be your first priority. Just like in this situation, Buffy would be mine. I’m sorry I called you an insensitive asshole.”

“So I’m not an insensitive asshole?”

“Um, semi-sensitive asshole?”

Angel smiled a little despite himself. “I’ll take it.” Obviously heartened by their conversation, he just had to push forward. “Xander? Do you really think that a relationship with Spike is a good idea? And why did Dawn call Spike ‘Daddy’?”

Xander’s body language completely changed. He crossed his arms and said, “Can I take back the semi-sensitive part?”

For an undead guy, Angel sure did sigh a lot. He opened his mouth to speak.

Xander cut him off. “He’s evil. He’ll try and kill everyone when he gets the chip out. Demons can’t love,” he said while enumerating on his fingers. “That about cover it, Deadboy?”

“Yeah. Pretty much,” Angel admitted grudgingly.

“Okay. The evil part, yes. Definitely. Totally. No argument there. But he’s not to those he loves. He loves me. He loves Dawn. And I think he likes the others…except for Giles…but he won’t hurt any of us. And yes, I do know this for sure. And by the way, I feel a hell of a lot less worry about Spike without a chip versus you without a soul. I’ll take a chipless boyfriend over Angelus any day of the year. And finally, yes. He can love. He does love. Just because you couldn’t without a soul doesn’t mean that Spike can’t. He’s special, and you know it. I just bet your demon is rattling in his cage because I have him and you couldn’t.” Xander ended his tirade by crossing his arms and huffing out, “Pillock.”

“Do you even know what that means?” Angel asked, irritation plain on his face.

Their attention was drawn to the flare of the lighter from the porch. “Why? Fits, don’t it, pillock?” Spike took a drag from his cigarette, stalked forward and put his arms around Xander’s waist.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander leaned back against his boyfriend, wound their fingers together, and let Spike take over. “’M not gonna hurt ‘em. None of ‘em. My boy’s right. So try and not make a mess while you’re here that Xander and I are gonna have to clean up. Slayer’s a right mess, ‘n you’re not helping, Peaches.”

“And you are?” Angel asked with disbelief.

“Damn straight, he is!” Xander exclaimed. “We’re family, Deadboy. Spike included.”

“Right. ‘Daddy Spike’,” the dark vampire spat out. “That’s something I never thought I’d hear out of a Slayer’s sister.”

“Look, Angel. The Bit needs me to be there for her. Her own Da is a worthless sack o’ shite. If she wants to call me ‘Daddy’ then that’s just fine with me.”

“You don’t deserve it,” Angel ground out judgmentally.

Xander stood up straight and began to gesture wildly. “You don’t have the right to say that, Deadboy. Like you’re a paragon of virtue! Spike has been there for Dawn, taken care of her. Hell, he’s taken care of everybody. Buffy included, so you have no right to come into our town and tell anyone how to live. Er, unlive. Whatever!”

Spike pulled his boy back against his chest. “Shh, luv. It’ll be alright. The second-string players will be out of town soon enough and we can get back to our normal abnormality.”

Xander took a few deep breaths and tried to calm down. “Look, guys. I came out here to apologize and the whole thing just got thrown into a blender on puree.”

“That’s French, Pet,” Spike whispered in his boy’s ear.

“Hush, baby. Not now,” Xander said, squeezing his lover’s hand. “Not to be all clichéd or anything…”

“French again.”

“Later. Can’t we all just get along?”

“Truce?” Angel offered.

“Truce,” Xander nodded in agreement.

God, Spike hated the git. Showin’ up and messing with the holiday. Although he was definitely chuffed over the cherry-flavored knickers. That had been right entertainin’.

His reverie was interrupted by a sharp elbow to his ribcage. “Spike? Truce?”

“The things I do for you, Sweetness.”

“Not just for me. For Buff and Dawnie and Connie…”

Connor.”

“Whatever.”

“Alright, luv. Truce. He is a cute little blighter. Positive he’s yours, Angelus?”

Angel sighed again.

“Come on. Let’s all go kill something together in the spirit of Christmas. Xan? Did I ever tell you about the year that Dru and I went caroling door-to-door with a fat minion dressed up like Kris Kringle?” Spike asked as he took Xander’s hand and they all began to walk to the nearest cemetery.

“Sadly, no. And I’d like to learn to live with disappointment.”

“Too bad. Dru was quite put out that we couldn’t find a midget to turn so we could use him as an elf.”

“No short minions?”

“Dru was into realism. She said she absolutely had to have a midget or Miss Edith would be cross and we would have no fruitcake.”

“That’s plenty of incentive to avoid little people right there.”

“What little people?”

“You said ‘midgets’, Spike. That’s not nice. It’s better to say ‘little people’.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah.”

“You can put somebody’s eye out with those things.”

“Little people?” Spike asked, puzzled at the non sequitur.

“Fruitcake.”

“I like fruitcake,” Spike commented.

Angel snerked and tried to cover it up by coughing.

“It’s nasty. You could beat somebody to death with it.” Xander did his best to sound ominous. “It was…death…by fruitcake. Gasp! Just think, Spike, if you tortured someone to death with fruitcake instead of a railroad spike…”

“I can see where this is going, luv, and I’m going to derail that little train of thought before it reaches the station. As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted by a naughty whippersnapper…”

“Whippersnapper? So showing your age there, Spike.”

Spike gave him a mock glare. “Another interruption? Are you going to let me finish my Christmas story here, Pet?”

“Sorry. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the whippersnapper comment.”

Spike, used to interruptions from Xander, continued his story. “Dru kept insisting on singing the bloody ‘Wassail Song’ over and feckin’ over again while she was prattling on about screamin’ sugarplums ‘n tying entrails into bows. Kept scaring the crap out of the minions, breaking their fingers and calling ‘em crackers but complained that she didn’t get a paper hat.”

“Okay. I can’t even begin to understand the stuff about the crackers. The only thing I know about crackers is that ‘Everything tastes great when it sits on a Ritz’ and I’m guessing she wasn’t talking about a tasty snack. At least I really, really hope not.”

“Well, it did encourage the minions to try and find a midge…little person,” he ended on in an effort to appease his boy’s soddin’ politically correct sensibilities.

Xander grinned at the slip and attempt to placate, before he commented, “I’m surprised she didn’t go all the way and insist on trying to make a ‘Rudolph the red-nosed Reinvamp’.”

“Nah. The fur woulda got stuck in her teeth.”

“Can’t have that.”

“Bloody right. Sweetness, I’m getting the distinct impression you don’t want me to stroll down memory lane.”

“Ah. You’ve stumbled upon my fiendish plan!” Xander continued, in an effort to change the subject, “Angel? Do you have any special Christmas memories? Um, one that doesn’t involve tying intestines into jaunty bows or finger breakage?”

“Actually, intestines make better garlanding,” Angel said. He put a hand to his forehead. “And I can’t believe I let myself get drawn into this conversation, much less actually said that.”

Spike made a show of clearing his throat and sang out, “Deck the halls with boughs of bow-els, fa la la la la, la la la la.”

Xander snickered.

“Spike!” Angel admonished.

“What? You started it. ‘Actually, intestines make better garlanding’,” he said imitating Angel in a very nasal tone.

“Spike. Truce,” Xander stage-whispered out of the corner of his mouth.

“Oh, alright. Look! Over there!” Spike pointed towards a nearby mausoleum. When Xan and Angel turned to look, he exclaimed, “It’s a rabid porcupine demon! Oh. False alarm,” he said dejectedly. “it’s just the old poof’s hair.”

Xander snickered again.

Angel’s cheek muscle began to twitch. Looks like it definitely was a Merry Christmas. It was jolly good fun pissing off the poofter.

“Oh, come on, ya old nancy. T’was just trying to lighten the mood.”

Angel just glowered. It was something at which he’d had a great deal of practice.

Xander decided to contribute. “Hey! You know what we haven’t done?”

“What’s that, Pet?”

“We haven’t sung any Christmas carols today!”

“Right.” Spike began to sing, in a very pleasant baritone, “Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Ste-phen…”

“Hey! I don’t know that one.”

“I’m not singing bloody ‘Jingle Bells’.”

“Aww. Come on!”

“No.”

“How about ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’?”

“Oh, alright,” Spike ground out grudgingly before he launched into the song with his boy. Truth be told, he liked that one, although he wouldn’t volunteer the information.

“Hell was better than this,” Angel commented to himself as he trailed behind the two loud men




Back Index Next



Feed the Author

Visit the Author's Live Journal

Home Categories New Stories Non Spander