A Christmas Tale

by
Randy Sex Kitten



Part I: Memories

Spike sat in his creaky, uncomfortable chair and stared, morbidly fascinated, at the mosquito that was currently making a meal out of his right arm. After allowing the parasite to get its fill, he slapped his hand down over it, leaving a spot of blood where it once sat. “Stupid fuck, sucking a vamp.”

He rolled his shoulder and sat up, flexing and stretching as he stared around his crypt.

Christmas Eve.

Cobwebs shimmered in the dim light and Spike sighed as he lit a cigarette, breathing out smoke and irritation.

He shouldn’t be comparing, remembering. Why should he care if there are no candles or lace, no evergreen hiding outside the door, ready to be brought in by the man of the home? Spike shifted uncomfortably and looked at his doorway. No mistletoe to kiss under, no berries to pick. No presents on the tree, no flames singeing the leaves, bringing the scent of the holiday to him. Why should he care that his crypt was cold and damp, no roaring fire to warm his bones?

“Bugger this.” Spike pushed himself up and out of his chair. He levered himself over the side of a sarcophagus, diving in headfirst, eagerly seeking out his hidden stash. He let out a triumphant cry and wriggled back, landing solidly on his feet and holding his prize in his hands.

Unscrewing the cap off the bottle, Spike fell back on the ground. He drank steadily, wondering what the gang was doing. Whatever it was, he hadn’t been invited and didn’t that just add to the mood?





Part II: Santa

Spike sat up with a groan. He lifted his hand to his head, growling in frustration when the bottle clutched tightly in his fist smashed him in the head. “Damn it,” he grunted as he threw the bottle away and began maneuvering himself into a standing position. His head swam.

He rubbed at his eyes and stretched, a grunt of satisfaction escaping with the movement. He stood and then went still with shock. Nothing was different, but everything had changed. There, next to his chair, sat a tiny Christmas tree, its branches heavy with gifts. The crisp, clean scent of the evergreen drew him closer and he broke off a branch, crushing the needles and bringing them up to breathe in their scent.

He smiled at the scent prompt, seeing his sister bringing burnt needles to him, knowing his fondness for them… His smile faded. He shuffled around, sitting in his chair and staring at the tree. Nothing was wrapped, as had been the tradition of his time, and he catalogued the gifts, wondering at them.

There were candies; striped canes, taffy, bits of chocolate, including, he saw, a chocolate orange nestled in the top branches of the tree. A wooden slide whistle attracted his attention and he pulled it down, blowing out a sharp tune, half-remembered, poorly played. He grinned. His hand reached out again and returned with a Bilbo catcher. The ball and handle were hand made. The scent of recently sanded wood was sharp. He flipped the ball up, carefully trying to catch it on the tip of the handle, but failed, as he always had as a child.

He continued to play, unable to figure out why he couldn’t land the ball correctly. When he realized his posture, stiff, uncomfortable and utterly and completely focused on the toy in his hand, he snorted and relaxed.

Dropping the Bilbo catcher to the ground, he reached out for the Whirlygig on a lower limb, but paused when he saw the gift just below it.

A dagger. Made of blackened steel, it’s blade reflecting almost red in the flickering light of the last few lighted candles, it was a work of art. His fingers wrapped around the handle, drawing it towards him. Its sheath, which had been balanced against it, fell to the ground, unnoticed.

The dagger fit perfectly in his hand, a beautiful, deadly weapon. He drew the blade along his arm, marveling at the way the flesh split and opened cleanly. He bought his arm up and lapped at the wound, his eyes never leaving the blade.

As he fastened the sheath to his ankle, he pondered the identity of his Santa Claus.





Part III: Treasure Hunt

Spike looked down at the invitation in his hand. He growled lightly and looked around. “I look a right fool, party indeed.” He flinched at the cultured voice that escaped his lips and snarled for good measure.

The invitation had been nestled in the branches of his tree. Come to a Party it read, in stylized script. No address, name, time or date; just a map. He followed the trail through the underbrush leading back into the open field behind the cemetery.

The map called for him to move through the field, over the hilltop and across the bridge. He moved into the woods and unconsciously began to sing under his breath. “Over the meadow and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go. The horse knows the way to carry th…” His song dropped off as he entered a clearing in the woods.

The ground was covered in a light dusting of what appeared to be snow. He inhaled, recognizing the smell of shredded plastic. He leaned down, lifting a handful of the white flakes. He smiled as they drifted back down to the ground. A table was set up in the middle of the clearing, a rich, red tablecloth covered with a proper English tea, set for two, upon it. Bone china, cucumber sandwiches and… He stepped closer, lifting the cover of the teapot. Another indrawn breath and he was smiling. Real tea.

He looked around, wondering whom the other place setting was for. He grabbed a biscuit and turned, scenting the air as he chewed. He stopped. He noticed some movement behind a tree and dropped down into a crouch, reaching for the handle of his dagger.

“Hey Spike. I’m glad you came.” Xander stepped out from behind the tree, a smile on his face.





Part IV: Truth

“See, I just figured it out.” Xander stopped to chew his sandwich, kicking his feet through the white flakes on the ground. “You’ve been helping us for years now. No recognition, no friendship, no kindness… And you keep coming back.”

Spike scowled and gulped down his tea, frowning at the biscuit in his hand. “Bugger that,” he muttered quietly.

Xander reached across the table, taking Spike’s hand in his own. “You’re an ass, Spike. You’re mean, unpredictable and hard to live with. But you are a good man, a good friend. I had to do this for you. I had to let you know that we don’t all hate you.” Xander blushed and Spike cocked his head to the side, reading the truth in his words.

“That’s not all, though, is it?” he asked.

Xander looked down at their conjoined hands where Spike’s fingers were caressing his. “No. I…” He swallowed uncomfortably and released Spike’s hand, reaching for his tea. A few swallows and it was gone and Xander looked up, his eyes uncertain, scared.

“I hate Christmas, Spike. I sleep outside on Christmas Eve to avoid my family’s drunken celebration. I…” He took a deep breath. “I needed this as much as you, I think. To have someplace pretty and quiet.” He looked around the clearing. “Some place where I can feel safe.”

Spike watched as tears began to roll down Xander’s face. He stood and reached across the table, taking Xander’s face in his hands. “Thank you,” he whispered and pressed his lips to Xander’s.





Part V: Learning

Xander moved around the crypt, fingering the tree that he had so carefully placed next to Spike’s chair. The toys had obviously been removed and replaced, their positions haphazard and precarious. He reached out and adjusted the Whirligig so that it was more firmly ensconced on its branch.

“Here you go, pet. Not as good as the tea, but palatable.” Spike held out a cup of hot chocolate, which Xander accepted with a smile.

They settled down on the floor side by side, staring at the tree and sipping at their warm, chocolaty concoctions. When he finished, Spike set his mug down on the ground and reached for the Bilbo catcher. “I’m going to best this bloody thing if it takes a hundred years,” he stated as he began tossing the ball up.

Xander grinned. Spike’s focus was completely on the toy in his hand. He flipped the ball, shouting in triumph as it landed, moaning when it toppled. Xander laughed and tugged the toy from Spike’s hand. He looked Spike in the eye, flipped his wrist and caught the ball on the tip of the handle.

Spike scowled as Xander laughed. “I was messing around with it when I was making it.” He placed the balanced ball and handle into Spike’s hand and leaned forward, his lips brushing against Spike’s. Spike’s empty hand raised, his fingertips touching where Xander’s lips had just been.

“What’s that, then, pet?” he asked quietly.

Xander shrugged and picked up his mug, a small smile still gracing his lips. “That’s the first time I’ve ever had a reason to laugh on Christmas.” He blushed, finishing his chocolate.

Spike’s eyes crinkled as he smiled. He placed the Bilbo back in the tree then sat back, placing an arm around Xander.

Xander’s smile grew and he settled into Spike’s embrace.





Part VI: Cold

They sat like that until sunrise, watching the candles burn down and inhaling the sweet scent of burning pine. Xander began to shiver as the night progressed. Just an unnoticed little wobble that, over the hours, developed into a deep, burning tremor that radiated out from his bones.

By the time either realized that it was he who was shaking, and not some unexpected hellmouthy occurrence, the shivers were so bad that he was violently jerking in Spike’s arms.

Spike tutted and stood, swearing at himself and Xander as he lifted him into his arms. “Stupid git, even in this bloody, over-warm climate humans need heat in the dead of winter.” He grunted as walked, carrying Xander to the opening to his basement. Xander continued to quake, his teeth chattering as he tried to speak.

“I didn’t know that it was gonna be this cold, Spike! Plus, not planning on the whole crypt thing, ya know?” A harsh intake of breath and his teeth clacked painfully. “Fuck!”

Spike kicked open the trap door and dropped into the hole, his grip on Xander never wavering. He settled Xander down on something soft and then moved away.

Blind in the inky blackness, Xander instinctively stilled, his body vibrating relentlessly. His eyes wide, he struggled to take in enough light to see a shape, a movement, anything. “Spike?” he whispered.

“No worries, pet.” Snick-hiss and Spike was standing beside an oil lamp, which was beginning to burn brightly. He moved across the room and knelt at Xander’s feet, fumbling around on the ground for something before starting to untie Xander’s shoes.

Xander looked around the room in awe. “Wow.” He was sitting on a massive four-poster bed, covered in thick, down bedding, all rich shades of red. The floors were covering in rugs, a variety of styles and textures and he fought the urge to drop down to run his hands along them.

Spike looked up from the complicated knots that were stymieing him. “What? Oh, the bed. Yeah.” He looked back down, concentrating on Xander’s feet.

Xander grinned down at the tussled white head bent over his shoes. He leaned back and toed them off, earning a glare from Spike.

Spike stood, pulling Xander to his feet, and began tugging at Xander’s clothes. Xander shrieked and tugged back. “What are you doing?”

Spike glared again and motioned toward the bed. “Your body temperature is low. You need to get under the covers. More chance of you getting warm if you’re not covered in all these layers.”

Xander glanced down, seeing the edge of an electric blanket peeking out from under the comforters, a cord leading away from the bed and up the stone wall. “You have electricity?” he asked, his teeth chattering all the while.

“Yes, I have electricity, like to be warm, don’t I?” With that Spike jerked Xander’s three shirts over his head, reached out and unbuttoned his jeans, tugging them to the ground and bundled Xander, his reindeer boxers and matching socks under the covers.

“Wow, you’re good,” Xander muttered as the heat began to seep back into his flesh.

“I know.” And Spike winked.





Part VII: Peace

Xander’s eyes opened and he stared up into the darkness. A shadow danced above his head and he turned, his eyes drawn to the cause. The gas lantern sat against the opposite wall, it’s flame low, barely offering any light. He sighed in contentment, warmer than he ever thought possible, happy and secure.

His bladder demanded that he move, and so he tried, he really did. But strong arms were wrapped around him and he identified the pressure all along his back as a body, a warm, comfortable body. He wriggled around until he had turned in that tight embrace.

Spike was asleep, his face unlined, innocent. He was breathing erratically, his body trying to replicate a long unneeded behavior.

Xander smiled as he watched Spike sleep, wondering what had happened. He had wanted to give Spike something, make him realize that was more than just an irritating convenience. And now, instead of waking to find himself in his worn out sleeping bag on the cold, hard ground, he was snuggled under the mountainous blankets of Spike’s bed, warm and happy.

Spike inhaled once more and a single syllable escaped with the exhalation, “Xan.”

Xander’s eyes filled with tears and he tightened his grip on Spike. “Thank you, Spike. Thank you.” He pressed a kiss to his cheek and, ignoring his angry bladder, fell back to sleep.





Part VIII: Merry Christmas

Spike awoke the next morning, feeling the tingle that was the sun at the back of his mind. He nuzzled into Xander’s neck, inhaling his scent.

Xander groaned and instinctively turned his head. Spike purred lightly and pressed a kiss to that tantalizing bit of skin. Xander smiled as consciousness returned. “Mmm… Spike,” he whispered.

Spike pushed up onto an elbow to look down at Xander. “Xander.” He smiled. “How are you this morning?”

Xander stretched, pushing Spike away as he did. He grunted and grinned as he took over the bed. “Feel great,” he growled. He relaxed and reached out for Spike, pulling him close once again. He lifted his chin, a clear invitation. Spike accepted, tipping his head down, taking Xander’s lips in a gentle kiss.

A warm tongue brushed across his mouth and suddenly, their kiss became more fierce. Tongue tangling for dominance, bodies grappling. Spike moved over Xander, holding him down as he plundered his mouth. Xander broke away to breathe, Spike resting his forehead against his as they panted, taking in each other’s exhalations.

“Merry Christmas, Spike.” Xander pressed a slow, open-mouthed kiss to Spike’s swollen lips.

“Merry Christmas, Xander,” Spike answered softly. They drew the blankets back up and settled in, their voices quiet as they talked the day into night.



The End