Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I stuck hot pokers into Joss until he gave me the boys. No, really, I did. Okay I didn't, they're still his. But I'm a pirate, pilfering is kind of my thing. Oh, okay! I'll return them when I'm done, but they'll be a bit... dirty. Scratch that, I'll bathe with them before they go back. If I made a profit from this, why would I keep my day job?
Warnings: Pure, unalduterated holiday sap. Keep your insulin nearby.
Feedback: The crack cocaine of the fanfic world.
Notes: Betaed by the always lovely Tsavoritegarnet.



Seven Christmases


by
Pirate Purple




The First Christmas:

“You’re going to sleep outside, in Sunnydale? Are you barking or just stupid?” Spike watched Xander pack up his sleeping bag, and comic books.

“I’ve been doing it since I was nine, Spike. I’ll be fine. You can go spend the night in a crypt if you want. If you find a nice one, let me know, I might want to room with you for a change.” Xander rolled his eyes.

“Fine. Bloody well be that way, then.” Spike stormed out. He didn’t go far. Xander woke occasionally through the night, always checking the trees that separated his yard from the neighbors, falling back to sleep when he saw the cherry glow of a cigarette.


The Second Christmas:

“Oi, monkeyboy, get up.” Spike prodded the sleeping bag with his foot.

“Msleepinspikegway.” Xander pulled the edge of the bag over his head.

“Up, I said. Just had to kill three Gorlax demons who were staking you out from your neighbor’s yard. You’re coming to the crypt.” Spike prodded him again.

Xander flopped over onto his back, holding his watch close to his eyes, and waiting for them to focus. “Spike, it’s three in the morning. Let the demons eat me. You don’t even like me.”

“Yeah well, consider it me working on my get out of hell free card. Get up.”

“No.” Xander rolled back over.

“Fine.” Spike picked Xander up, sleeping bag and all, and headed to the Desoto.

“Hey!” Xander started to squirm. Spike just held him tighter. “Fragile human here!” Xander gasped.

“Quit your squirming, then.” Spike dumped Xander into the passenger seat, and drove to the crypt. “And you’re the one sleeping in the bloody uncomfortable chair tonight.”


The Third Christmas:

“Spike why am I in your bed?” Xander blinked blearily around the dark room. Spike was smoking in the chair across the room, reading a book.

“Found you outside the Bronze. You were totally pissed, out of your head. You were arguing the relative merits of pressurized versus unpressurized wood with a brick wall. Figured your demon chit threw you out again.” Spike didn’t look up, turning a page as he spoke.

“Yeah,” sighed Xander, miserably. “We fought again. She’s been seeing someone else. She’s moving to Poughkeepsie with her. Said she’d never be with a man again, except maybe to make babies.”

“Heard the chit she’s with is a vengeance demon, too.”

“Maybe. It’d make sense. They can go around doing vengeancy things together.” Xander sighed and put his arms behind his head. “Uh, Spike, where are my pants?”

“Threw ‘em away. You sat down in something.” Spike flipped another page.

“How am I going to get home?”

“Go back to sleep, we’ll figure it out in a few hours, when the sun goes down.”

“Spike?”

“Yeah?” Page flip.

“Why is there a present next to the bed?”

“To make imbeciles ask questions.” A cloud of smoke follows the flick of the Zippo, as Spike lights up again.

“Oh….” Xander looked over toward Spike and caught the smirk. “Hey!”

“It’s for you, berk.” Spike dropped the book beside the chair. “Might as well open it, now. Was gonna wait till tomorrow, but I know you won’t let me have any peace until you’ve opened it.” Spike sighed melodramatically.

Xander bounced a little in the bed. “For me? Really?” He stopped and looked over at Spike. “I… uh… didn’t get you anything.”

“S’okay, pet. You put a roof over my head and kept me in blood and beer, when I needed it. Guess we’re friends by now, yeah?” He blew a plume of smoke at the ceiling. “Go back to sleep. Still a few hours till sunset.”

“Don’t you need to sleep?” Xander yawned.

“Bloody chair’s not comfortable enough to sleep in.” Spike fidgeted a little.

“This bed’s pretty big. I think if you promise not to molest me in my sleep, we’ll be okay.” Xander grinned, but didn’t open his eyes. “We’re friends, right?”

“Yeah, friends.” Spike crushed out his cigarette with his boot, and then kicked them off into a corner. He slid under the covers, careful to stay on his side.


The Fourth Christmas:

“Xander, you have to come to Christmas!” Buffy wheedled. “Dawn’s not coming, and Willow and Kennedy can’t leave the hellmouth in Brazil. It’s going to be me and Giles, and a bunch of baby slayers.”

“Sorry, Buff. There’s somewhere I have to be.” Xander sat in his car and looked over the crater that used to be Sunnydale. “I’ll call and spend some quality phone time in the morning.” The sunset was brilliantly colored, some of the dust from the implosion still in the air enough to refract the light. He was so going to have to call Willow and tell her he remembered something from science class. He pulled a bottle of Jack out from under the seat. Raising the bottle to the crater, or the sunset, or memories, something, he took a big slug.

He was about a third of the way through the bottle, when the tapping on his passenger window startled him. There was a black shape outside. He had no weapon, no stake. Then a platinum blond head bent to look in the window. “W-who are you?” Xander stuttered.

“I only burned up on the hellmouth a few months ago. You’ve already forgotten me? And I thought we were friends.” Spike rested his chin on his folded arms in the window.

“Spike?” Xander’s mouth opened and closed several times, but he made no other sound.

“Look like a goldfish, you do. Someone might think you’ve never seen a dead man before.”

“Spike?” Xander repeated.

“No, it’s the Ghost of Christmas Future with a style upgrade. ‘Course it’s me, you berk.”

Xander started to laugh and cry at the same time. “I thought I was never going to see you again.”

Spike opened the door, but couldn’t get in. “You been living in here, mate?”

“Sorta. Finding it hard to settle down.”

“Well, you gonna leave me out here?” Spike pressed a hand against the barrier.

“Get in here.” Xander clasped one of Spike’s hands in both of his large, calloused ones. “Oh my god, you’re real.”

“Well, yeah. You been seeing many hallucinations lately?” Spike looked concerned.

“N-no. No, I was just sitting here thinking about you, and there you were, and the hellmouth might be closed, but it’s still Sunnydale, and you never know…”

Spike put one finger over Xander’s lips. “S’okay, pet. Kinda missed you, too. Let’s go get a drink, yeah?”

“Your plans are getting better as time goes on.” Xander smirked.

“Berk.”


The Fifth Christmas:

“Oregon seems to be suiting you, Spike. How’s it going?” Xander watched Spike typing on his laptop in the small coffee shop.

“Hold on…” Spike tapped a few more keys, and closed the laptop. “Yeah, ‘s a good place. The books are selling well, so I can afford most anything I need.” Spike took a sip of his coffee and looked out the window. “You still wandering?”

“Yeah.” Xander was drinking decaf tea. He’d been feeling jittery and unsettled for a long time now, without adding to it with caffeine. “No place is home. The girls all want me to come and stay with them, but I’d just be a third wheel.”

“Going to London for the Holiday?” Spike leaned back in his chair nonchalantly, still not looking at Xander.

“Err… no. I think I’d just bring them down. Besides, I…” Xander trailed off and took several sips of tea.

“Besides, what?” Spike pressed after a few minutes.

“I’m kinda used to spending them with you.” Xander blushed so hard Spike could feel his pulse from across the table.

Spike hid his smile in his coffee. “We do have a habit of ending up together this time of year,” he said as if it were the first time it occurred to him. “I’ve got an extra bedroom. You could stay for the new year.”

Xander looked up, his face still pink. “I’d like that.”


The Sixth Christmas:

“Uh, Spike?” Xander sat on the floor surrounded by scraps of wrapping paper.

“Mmm?” Spike was sitting, lightly toasted, on the couch. Xander made really good toddies, and Dawn had sent them brownies, and Spike was becoming increasingly certain they’d had hash in them.

“This is a checkbook.” Xander raised a confused eyebrow at his roommate.

“ ‘Tis.” Spike put his feet up on the couch, and stretched.

“This may be one of those things that’s self-evident to a vampire, but as a lowly human, I’m going to require some explanation.” Xander opened the checkbook. “These checks have my name on them.”

“They do.” Spike smiled. It was rare he could truly surprise Xander. He was much quicker on the uptake than most people gave him credit for.

“I already have a bank account, Spike, I don’t need a new one.”

“ ‘S not a new account.” Spike took another sip of toddy.

Xander tossed a wad of wrapping paper at Spike, who let it bounce off his shoulder. “Explanation. Now.” Xander mimicked Willow’s resolve face.

“Put your name on my bank account.”

Xander stared at him like he’d said Buffy had no style. “What?” He looked down at the checkbook. “Why?”

“Didn’t want you to need anything.” Spike took another sip of toddy. He sort of wished Xander would stop asking questions, but then he wouldn’t be Xander, so kind of not. He must be pretty lit, though, because he was starting to sound like Xander, in his head.

“I have a job, Spike. I’ll be fine.” Xander referenced the book tour Spike was going on in the New Year, which neither of them had spoken of directly since Spike had first told him about it.

“I know, but there might be… emergencies, or something, yeah?” Spike waved a hand around. “Big house. Plumbing, and things. Never know.”

“Hey,” Xander said, catching the waving hand, and squeezing it. “I’ll miss you, too.”

“Don’t have to, Xander. You could come with.” Spike was suddenly very interested in Xander’s knuckles.

“And how are you supposed to woo the finest ladies in this country and four others, with me hanging around? I’d just be in the way.” Xander tried to let go, but Spike held on.

“No. You. Wouldn’t.” Spike said very clearly.

Xander looked up. Spike was very serious, almost angry. “I can’t expect you to want me around all the time…” Spike’s eyebrow raised, and the look on his face told a different story. “Oh.” Spike laid a tender kiss on the back of Xander’s hand. “Oh…”

“Come with me,” Spike whispered against Xander’s fingers.

“I… I have to think about it.”

“I’ll wait.”


~*~*~*~*~


“ ‘llo, pet.”

“Hey.” Xander replied, somewhat sadly. “What’s up?”

“Missed you is all. You okay? Sound kinda… down.”

“Yeah. Just wish I had gone with you.”

“Thought you might. Look in the top drawer of my desk.”

“There’s an envelope with my name on it. What is it?”

Spiked sighed. “Open it, berk.”

“You’re pretty sure of yourself, aren’t you?” Xander smiled at the plane ticket in his hand.

“Just hopeful.” Spike replied, but Xander could hear the smirk. “Taxi’ll be there in an hour, so scarper.”

Xander snorted. “Hopeful, my ass. Stay on the phone with me while I pack?”

“Sure, pet. Something on?”

“No, not as such. Just… thinking.” Xander purred into the phone. “About your skin. How soft and pale it is.” Xander dumped a bunch of clothes into a duffel. “How you’ll smell when I get close enough to taste.”

Spike gasped. “Oi! That is so not fair! It’ll be at least four hours before you get here!”

“So maybe you should get undressed, and listen closely.” Xander grinned.

“Xander, the longer you take to pack the longer it will take you to get here.” Spike groaned, but Xander heard a zipper.

“Oh, I’m going to keep packing. I’m just going to think out loud while I do it.” Xander put his suit in a garment bag as he spoke. Never knew, with Spike, what you might need to dress for.

“What about you, Xan?” Spike hissed as he wrapped a hand around his cock.

“I’m going to wait. Then, when I get to you, I’m going to keep you up all day doing everything I’ve thought about for four hours.”

“You’re gonna kill me.” Spike groaned.

“Mmmm…” Xander hummed. “Good way to die, though. Hot human mouth wrapped around you… Slick fingers moving inside you…” Xander heard a honk, and grabbed his things. “Cab’s here. Gotta jet. Be hard for me when I get there.” Xander flipped the phone shut, adjusted himself, and trotted out the door.


The Seventh Christmas:

“Spike, Xander! You came!” Dawn threw herself at both of them, nearly knocking them down.

“We missed you too, bit.” Spike grinned at her as they each took one of her arms.

Willow was sitting between Oz and Kennedy on the couch, a red haired baby girl in her arms. “How is Tara Joy Osbourne, my amazing godchild?” Xander asked, kissing his index finger and pressing it against her forehead.

“Pretty amazing.” Oz replied, with a wry grin. Xander squeezed his shoulder.

“And her grown-ups?” Xander looked at the three on the couch. “You all look great.” Xander smiled.

Willow grinned. “We’re all pretty tired. Tara did not like flying. She seems to be okay now though.”

Xander pressed a kiss to Willow’s forehead, leaning carefully over the baby. “Want Spike and I should entertain milady for a bit while you guys nap?”

Spike snorted. “Nap. Sure.”

Kennedy winked broadly at him. “I’m sure we’ll find a way to re-energize ourselves.”

Buffy came in from the kitchen. “I’m vetoing all sexcapades until after dinner. It’ll be ready in half an hour.”

Angel leaned against the doorway behind her. “Seems like a waste of a perfectly good half-hour, if you ask me.”

“Looks like they’re making up for lost time, now he’s human.” Spike stage-whispered to Xander, grinning when Angel glowered at him.

“I kind of have something I’d like to say, anyway, since you’re all here.” Xander said, pointedly ignoring the surprised look Spike gave him, and taking his hand. “Spike and I aren’t just roommates. We’re together.” He nervously glanced around the room.

Willow started to giggle, which set off Buffy and Kennedy. Oz and Angel just grinned at them. Giles came in through the foyer, and clapped Xander on the shoulder. “About time you decided to tell us, really.” Even Giles was smirking.

Olivia looped her arm through Giles’. “Didn’t you notice that the invitation was sent to the two of you this Christmas?”

“Didn’t think anything of it.” Spike replied, setting off another round of giggles.

Willow handed Tara to Oz, and stood up, embracing her oldest friend. “We’re happy for you.” She turned and hugged Spike as well, not letting go until he hugged back. She pointed at Spike. “Do I have to say more than ‘Shovel?’”

“No ma’am.” Spike eased himself behind Xander, putting the boy between himself and the witch, which caused more laughter around the room.

Buffy crossed the room, and grabbed Spike by the elbow. “Come help me set the table. I have my own version of the shovel talk to give.”

Spike sighed dramatically, looking at Xander. “Do you have to put up with this from my in-laws?”

“Yes, actually, he does.” Angel clamped a large hand on Xander’s shoulder and began to steer him in the other direction.


~*~*~*~*~


Dinner was noisy, as they all tried to talk to each other at once. Tara was asleep upstairs. Toasts were proposed and drunk many times, until the sky was almost light, and everyone toddled off to bed.

“I’m knackered.” Spike sighed, flopping backward onto the bed.

“We, uh… need to talk, before you go to sleep.” Xander remained standing, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

“Is something wrong? You were kind of quiet during dinner.” Spike looked worried, and sat up.

“Not wrong, exactly. Angel gave me my Christmas present a little early, and I’ve been thinking about it.” Xander walked over to the window, pulling the shade back just enough so that he could see the sky turning pink with sunrise.

“Did he hurt you? I’ll eat him, soul or not.” Spike stood, and strode toward the door.

Xander intercepted him. “No, Spike. Nothing like that. He loves you, you know.”

Spike sniffed. “Could have been better about showing it.”

Xander smiled. “Yeah, well. He’s Angel. Not exactly Mr. Emotionally Evolved.” Xander took a red velvet box from his bag, which he had left on the chair by the door. He handed it to Spike. “He gave me… well, us, this.”

Spike opened the box and stared at the object nestled in the velvet inside. “This…” Spike walked unsteadily to the bed and sat down. “An Orb of Thessula?” Spike set the box on the bedside table. He looked over at Xander, who was studying the doorknob. “Would you even want…?” He shook his head. “No, of course not.” He looked hopefully at Xander’s back. “Of course, we don’t have to do it now. You can have some time to think about it, and we can talk after the holidays, when it’s not so hectic…”

Xander pulled a smaller box out of his pocket, and walked over to sit beside Spike on the bed. He looked at the box in his hands silently for so long that Spike finally took a breath to speak again, but Xander spoke before he could form words. “I’ve had this a while. Traded Mr. Tolchevik a new custom case for his store for it. I’ve been waiting for the right time.” Xander grinned a lopsided grin. “Okay, really I’ve been waiting for the nerve.” He held the box in the palm of his hand and offered it to Spike. “It’s okay if you don’t… I know my record on this isn’t exactly sterling.” He ignored the questioning eyebrow Spike raised at him, studying the toes of his boots.

Spike held the box, which was black, and also velvet. It was a ring box. Spike’s stomach started to feel fluttery. “This what I think it is?” Xander didn’t look up or answer though, so he opened it. It was a platinum band, very simple. Spike’s fingers shook as he picked it up. There were words, in script, on the inside. ‘Forever mine, as I am forever yours.’ “Xander?” Spike’s voice was shaking almost as much as his hand.

When Xander looked up, Spike was holding out the ring in his right hand, and extending his left. Xander picked the ring up, and took Spike’s left hand. “Marry me?” He couldn’t get his voice to go above a whisper, but Spike nodded, and he slipped the ring on Spike’s finger. They rested their foreheads together, Xander not daring to breathe, and Spike breathing as if for both of them.

“Does that mean…?” Spike shrugged one shoulder in the direction of the box on the bedside table.

“Only if you want to. I’ll understand.” Xander replied.

“Berk.” Spike kissed Xander, cradling his face. “When?”

“Now?” Xander suddenly didn’t want to wait.

“Might want to let Red get some sleep, first, love.” Spike smiled at Xander. He ran his hands through thick, dark hair. “Happy seventh Christmas together. Something to remember, if we do it on the actual day.”

Xander grinned. “You count from then too?”

“ ‘Course. Should probably come clean though. There were no Gorlax demons the second year. Made them up.” Spike grinned back.

“I knew it!” Xander crowed. “You just wanted to get my moist deliciousness into your crypt.”

“Got me there, love.” Spike kissed him again. “C’mon. Let’s go to bed.”

“Sure thing, husband mine.” Xander smiled at the stunned look on Spike’s face. “I like the way that sounds.”

“Me too, love. Me too.”




The End





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