Part of the Ripper Files
Following certain events, which need not bother us here, Spike and Xander are living in the Gileses' ancestral pile which nestles in the ancient and legend-shrouded county of Somerset. This vast country house has, for some time been home to the Scoobies and most of the Potentials. Now, however, most of the team has departed to pastures new and only a few are left there this Christmas.
A Spandery Christmas
"Watcha doin'?" Spike was prowling around their suite on a wet, dismal day in December - fairly typical for an English west-country winter - and was irritated that Xander was otherwise occupied and seemed to be settling in for a morning of web-surfing. Spike had nothing against the information highway; he was, indeed, known for spending many a happy hour touring the more exotic sites but, right now, he wanted some attention for himself.
He had already argued with Giles, told one of the senior grooms that she had no idea of how to handle a horse properly and upset one of the remaining Potentials just by snarling at her.
Finally, he had seen one of the dailies walk off in high dudgeon, shouting out her notice never to return to this loony-bin, just because he'd compared her workload with that of a downstairs maid during his Victorian lifetime and had merely pointed out how much better her lot was. He had enquired why it was that she wasn't capable of turning up on time and doing a reasonable job while she was actually there. He had felt that being called a big girl's blouse who should have something better to do than run his fingers along top shelves checking for dust like some inverted Qentin Crisp was beyond the pale and certainly not suited to the dignity of either a Victorian gentleman or a contemporary master vampire. He briefly considered pointing out that it was the very fact of Crisp's being an invert that had made him the man that he had been - dust and all - but decided instead on icy withdrawal from the contretemps and some quality time with his boy.
"Hmm?" Xander's response underlined the fact that he was taking no notice of what was going on anywhere but on-screen. A smack across the back of his head brought him back to planet earth: "Oh, I'm looking for ideas."
Spike was tempted but resisted; instead his response was reasonable and even genuinely interested, "Oh yeah? Ideas for what?"
"That's the thing. You know when Dawn dragged me out to the pub down the road and insisted we tried some of that battery acid they call Scrumpy, around here? We had two pints of the stuff and woke up like thirty hours later with, like, rather big gaps in our memories between the times when we sat down with the first pint, when the serious vomiting happened and when we we finally came around?
"Well, the plot-holes are slowly filling in - both Dawn and I are starting to remember bits of the evening and one of the bits was me promising to tell her an original Christmas story starring yours truly and his happy vamp." Xander turned a gloomy face to Spike, "and I've been trying to find some webby inspiration cos I've never had to tell a story before and I thought that if I Googled "Christmas story plots with vampires" I might get an idea of how to start it. Well, start it, middle it and end it, really." Xander scratched his nose and sniffed.
"So how's the search going?"
"First off I got 'Your search - "Christmas story plots with vampires" - did not match any documents. Tip: Try removing quotes from your search to get more results.' So I did but it all got silly and I still haven't got anything to use for my story."
Xander wrapped an arm around Spike's waist and pulled him close; he grinned ingratiatingly up at his lover and said, "You, now, would be great at the story-telling. 'Please, Daddy, tell your little Xandy a Cwimas 'tory...' then I can clean it up and take out the more blood-thirsty bits and tell it to Dawny; PLEEEEEEASE!!"
"I'll help you out if you insist, but it's got to be your story - only fair, after all. Anything else wouldn't be cricket, doncha know, old man; and this is Somerset, after all. Cricket is very important here." Spike ignored Xander's bemused gawp and continued, "Let's start with real life and then we can embroider it a bit - but no reindeer. I draw the line at reindeer."
"Real life?" Xander frowned, crossed his arms and ankles and leaned back waiting to see what Spike was getting at.
"Yeah, what did you use to do at Christmas as a kid? Did you have family visit? Did you go to visit family? What?"
"Oh, yeah, right. We usually had relations come to visit - always arrived late and stayed longer than they should have - that got Mom pissed right off and Dad used to put on this happy Christmas, Ho ho ho, persona with them all - and jolly Dad was a frightening thing. Of course, it never lasted long and then the arguments would start. It was always someone mentioning old Uncle Leland that used to get them going. You know, I never did find out who he was or what he'd done to upset the entire clan.
"When I was still pretty young I was always busy ignoring the toys and making death lasers out of boxes and wrapping paper and plotting take-over -the-world-plans with my cousins. Later on, from when I was about thirteen or so, I guess, I would take my tent to the back yard and camp out for as long as I could get away with it. That worked out pretty well - the invading relations could use my room and I'd get away from them all and pretend I was in a snowy wilderness with only me and a small TV hooked up to the garage power to keep me from insanity."
Spike blinked. "You spent Christmas camping in the back garden?"
"In the middle of Sunnydale? Why the hell not go somewhere scenic and away from the town? Would have been safer and more adventurous, surely?"
"Ah, yes, but there's adventurous and then there's adventurous. The way I did it, I didn't have to see what was outside the tent so it could be anywhere at any time of the day but the kitchen and facilities were only a short hop away. As for Sunnydale being dangerous... no-one even thought about it. We didn't like being confused with facts - not until Buffy came along. And by then I sorta liked my camping Christmas too much to change it."
Spike was getting a far-away look in his eyes and he threw himself into one of the over-sized armchairs in front of the fire, the better to think a few things out. Because a good malt is known to assist a good cogitation, he helped himself from the side table next to him and sipped as he stared thoughtfully into glowing coals.
"Okay, I got it. I'll tell you the basic story and then you can put it into your own words to tell Dawn, that OK with you?"
Xander nodded eagerly, "Sounds great. But low on the body count and the blood, yeah? It is Christmas after all."
"Christmas be buggered, it's obvious you know nothing about the average Boxing Day rugby match.
"Hospitals all over the country would put on extra shifts to deal with the carnage. 'Course it's not the same now it's gone professional - lot of bloody fairies with their bonnets and substituting players throughout the match. Used to be 15 players and a couple of subs and when they'd been used up you carried on with however many you had left." Spike snorted in derision, "You just ask Rupert what he thinks of the game nowadays, he'll tell you. Thank god for the old, amateur clubs still going. "
"Um, Spike, I'm sure that's very interesting to someone who gives a damn - what about my story?"
"Oh, yeah," Spike looked vaguely sheepish, "sorry. Right then, the story is entitled:
"Spike's and Xander's Winter Wonderland.
"Once upon a time, young Xander packed his belongings in a large spotted handkerchief tied to a long pole and, slinging this over his shoulder, left the comforting confines of his warm, cheerful house, to challenge the hardships of an icy Christmas all alone. Scorning the comforts of home and hearth, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, succulent turkey and sparkling Christmas tree, he decided to brave the great outdoors and seek a more spiritual Yule-tide among the rigours of Californian suburban back gardens.
"After many adventures he pitched his tent not too far from the outside tap and next to a convenient bush - the rear of which would substitute for the the more modern facilities of indoor plumbing.
"That night, he lay looking up at the twinkling stars which painted a rich tapestry on heaven's infinity..."
"Light-pollution, Spike. You can't see stars in the middle of Sunnydale."
"Poetic licence, Xander - fuck off.
"....stars painted a rich tapestry on heaven's infinity. (Lovely line that, I should have been a poet) Lulled by the peace and tranquillity of this soft, nurturing night, the lad...
"Fuck off this is my bit - you can change what you want, remember?
"The lad was gently drifting into sleep when a chill came over him and he felt the unmistakeable aura of evil surround him. With a cry of alarm he sprang up... um... his sleeping bag graciously dropping from his firm and lissome body to pool at his bare, fine-boned feet, leaving him free to, um, move about as he needed to, rather than get tangled up, flapping like a grounded fish, ending up arse over elbow on the ground with the sleeping bag an effective tourniquet as would normally happen to him."
"I appreciate that."
"Don't mention it.
"He stared into the shadows which seemed, inexplicably to have become blacker and tangibly full of menace. He assured himself that it was all imagination and that the ridiculous stories of monsters and...... vampires!.... were no more than the foolish fancies of those who should know better. He knew this to be the truth so why was he quaking inside, his mind full of dread and wishing he was safely tucked up in his own bed, safe behind locked doors which had never been opened in invitation to the fiends of hell, the like of which he was sure was surveying his young, moist and delicious body?
"You still with me? Cos I'm taking this straight off the top of my head - I expect it will need a bit of polishing before it's ready to be told to anyone else."
"I'm.... spellbound; keep going, I wanna know what I did next."
"Yeah, OK." Spike shifted in the chair, topped up his drink then rose to his feet and struck a pose, one arm leaning on the mantel.
"The young man stood firm, nostrils flared and stake at the ready
(better ignore the bit about only idiots believing in vampires, just here, okay? Just sort of fluff over that bit.... better to be safe than sorry sort of thing.)
'" 'I know you're there,' he declaimed in ringing tones. 'Show yourself or are you too cowardly to expose yourself?'
"An answering snigger made him re-run his words in his mind and he cringed.
" 'You would seem to be the one who has exposed himself, Foolish Mortal. Why, when the very Mouth of Hell opens amongst the streets of your town, would such a desirable human as yourself leave himself open to the perils of everlasting damnation? Surely you....' "
"Shouldn't there be an echoing, diabolical laugh which froze our young hero to to the spot, there?"
"If you want one, add one yourself.
" 'Surely you know better than to tempt the cruel and implacable spawn of hell? The powers of the Undead are not to be considered mere trifles. We hunt in darkness to entrap the feeble creatures of the light and when they wander from their element into the domains of darkness they surely must fall before the Masters of Iniquity.
" 'Therefore, I say to you, pathetic offspring of the world of delusion, fall down at my feet and give me a blow job. I've been hanging about for bloody hours waiting for your rowdy pack to settle down. You've got my booze and fags tucked away somewhere in your stuff, and I'm gagging for a fuck.'
"Some hours later, as the Master Vampire and his lovelorn human lay sprawled in each other's arms, the young man shifting now and again, muttering words of imprecations against his master who, he reckoned, could have been a bit gentler during the last, fast short strokes of their final shag, they looked up to the heavens, whose stars were gossamer-curtained by heavy clouds and saw, drifting gently down upon them, twinkling flakes of snow whose gentle embrace seemed to have been generated only to seal their everlasting compact...."
"Everlasting compact?... Gossamer curtain? How the hell can something gossamer describe something heavy? And since when have you been my master, for fuck's sake?"
Spike leaned over to throw another log on the fire, his normally pale face rosy in the warm glow, "Like I said, it's your story, I'm just giving you the basics.
"And, by the way, if you fancy making it all a bit more real, there's a lovely spot by the river which would make an ideal Christmas campsite for a couple with that sort of, er, bent...."
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